My grandfather had one leg.
(Let’s just say you’ll never see me riding a motorcycle.)
He died when I was a kid, but I remember being mesmerized by how much he was still able to do. I still decided I wanted to keep both of mine though…
Have you stopped and thanked God for your legs today? You should!
The human body is truly amazing, and we often don’t appreciate it fully (or take care of it like we should). Until something is missing or broken. Then we start getting thankful really quick!
I find it interesting that although the Bible calls the Church (that’s a big “C,” as in everyone who follows Jesus) the Body of Christ, we don’t seem to worry too much about missing arms or toes. And likewise, there are plenty of fingers laying around that don’t seem bothered that they’re not connected to a hand.
Excuse the graphic image, but if the Body of Christ were physically on display somewhere, it may resemble the crime scene of a horror movie–body parts everywhere!!!
Certainly there are beautiful displays of the Body doing amazing things around the world (and we don’t celebrate these enough), but in other places, our western individualism and self-reliant culture has taken a butcher’s knife to the Biblical ideas of community, connectedness, interdependence, empathy and self-sacrificing love.
In place of the hands of Christ reaching out to help a dying world, we’ve got severed fingers (remember, figuratively) sitting in bleachers at a sports field every weekend or just at home on a rainy day, perhaps catching a service online once a month.
My goal isn’t to provoke with cynicism or shame, but to encourage sober-minded reflection upon this question: Am I truly connected to the Body of Christ in Biblical community?
Here’s 3 ways to know if you are in Biblical community:
1. When you’re hurting, you reach out for help.
When a cell in the body is attacked, it sends out a signal for immune cells to come to the rescue. Specialized B and T lymphocytes come from all over the body to attack the foreign antigens.
But that help requires communication. And that communication requires connection.
Do you have people? Like REAL people.
When you’re having marriage trouble, do you have people to call?
What about when you’ve done all you know to do with your teenager?
Or when your doctor calls in a somber tone about your test results?
And Google isn’t real people.
Google can’t say to you, “Man, my teenager went through that last year. I know how hard that is. I’m sorry.” Or, “Hey, my wife and I struggled with that early in our marriage. Let’s go to lunch next week and talk about it.”
Or have you bought into the lie that you’re enough to handle it?
That people will look down on you for not being able to figure it out?
That people have hurt you before and will probably hurt you again?
2. You’ve grown spiritually since last year.
Bodies grow, right? At least ones that are alive. Ha.
Last time I checked, my left pinky toe has grown in proportion to my right pinky toe. (I just confirmed that.)
Ephesians 4:16 says that all parts of the body grow when every part brings its supply. In other words, when everything is connected.
Growth should be the goal. If something or someone isn’t growing, something is wrong. Have you grown in love? In patience? In faith?
Maybe you’ve read a bunch of scriptures on those subjects, but it takes being connected to actually walk out that knowledge. We grow in love by having to love (difficult) people. We grow in patience by having to work with (difficult) people. We even grow in faith from being sharpened by people with greater faith than we have.
3. You talk excitedly about what God is doing.
It’s human nature to talk about things that relate to us–high gas prices, inflation, kids these days, etc… We’re connected to these things, so it’s only natural that they’re common topics.
But when you’re IN the body of Christ, you’re also connected to what HE’S doing! And despite what you hear on the news, God is moving!! Our church continually has testimonies of God
turning lives around, miraculously providing for needs, and rescuing people out of darkness all over the world.
And if you’re even a fingernail in the Body, YOU have a part to play in that! You will get full rewards for it in heaven! How cool!
When you’re a severed hand, it’s hard to get excited about the impact you’re having in the world. But when you’re connected in a small group or on a serve team with people who are intentionally living life together, you can celebrate the fact that you’re a part of something so much bigger than yourself.
Why it Matters
Look around. We live in the most technologically advanced society in the history of the world. Yet there’s suffering everywhere. People are addicted to social media because of the dopamine boost. Then there’s the opioid crisis…
And Christians are right there in the middle.
But what if I told you that true peace and joy weren’t found in escaping through prescriptions or a smartphone but in the messiness of relationships?
What if I told you that yes, people come with a risk, but on the other side is the health and strength you’ve craved in life? Would that be worth the risk? Would that be worth at least joining a small group at your church and trying to let people into your world?
Was God ultimately off His rocker when He said there’s strength and encouragement found in the gathering of believers? Doesn’t He know how hurtful people can be?
Dare to imagine a healthy life filled with people who care about you and want to see you fulfill God’s great plan for your life. Dare to believe that God can heal any wound or give you strength to overcome any insecurity keeping you from being connected to the Body.
It’s HIS body after all. He knows how to keep it healthy. All you have to do is to connect to it. You need it.
Our world needs it.