A Malfunctioning Organ

From the Desk of Pastor Rohde

 

Back on November 17, 2017, Loretta and I were headed on a five day vacation to Wisconsin. On the way we stopped for breakfast in Rolling Prairie. When we returned to the car and continued our journey, I told Loretta that I was gaining way too much weight. I felt bloated as if I had an inner tube around my waist. That feeling continued off and on throughout our vacation. After returning home I continued to feel bloated. Along with that feeling, I had some heartburn and I did a lot of belching. Finally, I decided to go to the doctor and have my annual wellness physical and mention my physical discomfort to him. Doctor Kolbe requested I have an ultrasound of my gallbladder. It showed that I had gallstones. Gallbladder surgery was scheduled for January 10th to remove this member of my body that was no longer functioning according to the purpose for which God created it.

I was pondering all this one night at 2:30 in the morning when God’s Word about the body of Christ, the local Christian congregation, came to me. In I Corinthians 12, Paul describes the Christian congregation, this way: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…. If one part suffers, every part suffers with in…. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it” (verses 12, 26, 27).

We may have our view of what it means to be a member of a Christian congregation, but our view may not be God’s view. Since the church is God’s body, His description of her and His concept of church membership is what really matters. God sees membership in the church like various organs of the body that are working together for the common good. Each of us has different gifts, talents, and abilities. When we work together in Christian love the congregation functions well. However, when the parts of the body cease to function as God equipped them to do, the whole body is affected negatively. Hence, I used the illustration of my gallbladder.

If St. Paul’s Congregation closed her doors, would your life be affected? If it would not, that means there is a spiritual problem with your connection to God’s people and your activity within the body of Christ. You are malfunctioning. Anytime an organ in our body or a member in the congregation is not active according to God’s design the whole body becomes negatively affected.

Paul reminds us that we are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it (I Corinthians 12:27). Peter goes on to encourage us to excel in the gifts God has given each one of us and be an active, functioning member in the body of Christ (I Peter 4:10). We are one body through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, worshipping and working together to build the body of Christ and bring the message of Jesus’ saving work to all people.

One side note as I conclude this article. Being a shut-in member of the congregation does not make one a failing organ in the body of Christ. A failing member in the body of Christ is one who shuts himself off from gathering together with brothers and sisters in Christ for worship, Bible study, fellowship and service.

May God help each one of us to reconsider our place in God’s body by virtue of His grace and use whatever gifts and abilities He gives us to serve and encourage one another in the things of God.

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