The Joy of Serving Together

As I watched my church family serve Christ together at BLAST tonight, I thought how thankful I am to be a part of this local church. It thrilled my heart to see so many people working together to minister the gospel to the kids in our church and community. Whether it was the faithful kitchen crew, the ladies who handle registration, the teachers, directors, verse listeners, or group facilitators, everyone was joyfully serving Christ together. It reminded me of some key biblical principles.

In God’s wisdom and goodness, He takes individual sinners, saves them, and places them in the church. From people with diverse backgrounds, gifts, interests, personalities, and passions, He builds a body of believers. Our unity in Christ despite our individual diversity displays the beauty of the gospel to a watching world.

Paul describes the phenomenon of the church in this way:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of one another. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

The beauty of the gospel is displayed when diverse people work together for the glory of Christ. That beauty was on display tonight. As I observed it, I was reminded how the logic of the gospel runs counter to the world’s thinking,

I cannot count how many times I have heard Christians say that they do not feel like they belong in the church. This always breaks my heart, because every believer should feel like they belong to the church. Yet many Christians struggle to experience this. Sometimes, this creates a critical spirit towards the church for failing to meet their needs. Since the church is failing to meet their needs, they are unwilling to commit to the church. It is normal to think, “Why should I commit if I do not belong? Why should I serve if no one cares for me?” This makes perfect sense, until our minds are renewed by the gospel.

The Scriptures teach that in committing to Christ, we commit to His people. That commitment precedes and produces the sense of belonging. If we fail to commit, we will never sense that we belong.

This gospel logic contradicts our culture in many ways. Our culture teaches us to expect service, yet the gospel calls us to sacrificially serve others at the expense of ourselves. Our culture teaches us to demand our preferences, but the gospel tells us to sacrifice our preferences for the sake of others. Our culture achieves greatness by climbing a social, political, and/or economic ladder; but in the church, greatness comes by descending into greater acts of humble service. This logic does not make sense to the worldly mind. But to the mind that is being renewed by God’s grace, it starts to make sense.

As I watched my church family serving Christ tonight, I saw the beauty and power of God on display. He takes broken and corrupt people, unites them with Christ through faith, places them in local churches, and turns them into something useful and beautiful in His hands.

There is real joy in serving Christ. Unity is found, not in everyone thinking the same thing, but in everyone serving the same King. Belonging is known, not when we are served by the church, but when we serve alongside other Christians for God’s glory.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! Romans 11:33