Serving the Body
How can we use our spiritual gifts to serve the Church?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Have you ever wondered why you should be part of a church? The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25 that gathering with other believers is something we should not neglect.
What is so important about church?
Jesus wants us, as a member of a local church, to complete the ministry He began while He was on earth. He wants you to be part of this ministry. But none of us can do this on our own. We need Him as our leader (our Head), and all the rest of the body (other believers) to get the mission accomplished as He has planned. None of us can do it alone, but all our abilities together are used by Him for His purpose. Here’s how you can be a healthy part of the body:
Encouraging each other
First, church is meant for mutual encouragement. In Hebrews 10:23 we read God’s desire for us to “hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering.” None of us can do that by ourselves because our enemy, Satan, attacks us more when we are alone. Our responsibility to other believers is to encourage them to keep following Jesus closely.
Completing what he began
Second, Jesus left us a task to do. Just before He returned to heaven after His resurrection, He said we were to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:20). He says He is “not wishing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), but no one can know Him unless someone tells them.
In John 14:12, Jesus also said that the Church would do “greater works” than He had done while He was here. None of us who follow Him can accomplish this in our own strength. We, the Church, are called His body and are left on earth now so He can do in the whole world what He did in one region while He was here.
For this reason Jesus gives gifts (called spiritual gifts in the Bible) to each person in the church to help with this task. We read the lists of spiritual gifts in passages such as Ephesians 4:11-12. Alone, we cannot complete all the duties Jesus wants to do, but together we can. Jesus’ body, the Church has different parts just as a body has – ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet, and so on – and each part is important to completing the task. Each of us, with the spiritual gifts He has given us, have our own work to do.
Strength in unity
Third, we as believers must work together. We cannot work as a body if we are not in agreement with each other. The Bible calls this “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:1-6). Hands cannot help a person in need if the feet will not take them to that person. The heart cannot love someone if the ears have not heard the one who needs encouragement. The arms cannot lift a heavy burden for another if the legs and back do not help with balance and strength.
Jesus gave His disciples, including us today, a wonderful promise in Matthew 16:18 – that the very gates of hell cannot stop what He wants to accomplish. Gates are not attack weapons, but instead used to keep someone out or in. The gates of hell are pictured because Satan wants to keep people from hearing Jesus’ words of hope and follow Him. However, his gates cannot stop us from entering his strongholds to tell them.
There will be times, however, as we enter those gates to invite people to follow us to Jesus, that we will be injured by Satan’s attacks. In those times, the Church – the body of Christ – rushes to help the injured one. We bind the wounds, encourage the disheartened and give strength to those who have suffered in the attacks.
Discovering your spiritual gifts
Finally, every believer is given at least one spiritual gift with which they serve Jesus’ body in a local church. It is our duty to use each gift we are given to help the local body in the church we attend. (1 Peter 4:10)
How do we discover our spiritual gifts? A few will hear God’s call to become pastors. Others will be asked to do something and discover joy in fulfilling that task. Many will try different things to find what gives them the greatest satisfaction as they serve Jesus in their church – encouraging others, giving someone a verse of wisdom when someone is searching for answers, visiting the sick and praying with them, helping a disabled person by taking them to the grocery store and carrying their bags home, or even greeting a foreigner with a word of welcome in their own language. In doing this, you will be serving the body while also finding how God has crafted you best to serve.
Pray this week:
Father, as my love for you grows, teach me also to love my church and use the way you’ve prepared me to bless and build others within it.
What do you do in church that helps others?