Most of us care about our bodies. We nourish them. We try to keep them warm and comfortable. I personally like to fill my body with coffee — strictly for the antioxidants. I try to avoid doctors, dentists, shots, emergency rooms, bloodletting (though I’ve been told numerous times I have nice veins), colonoscopies and the like as much as possible. I sit on comfortable couches and sleep in a warm soft bed.
Isn?t it amazing how we pamper our bodies? When my son David was little I was dancing around with him (in my socks) and spun around and slammed my little toe into the foot of our couch. ARGGGGGGHH! I managed to set David down and then my whole body went into crisis mode and to the aid of my little toe. I sat down, and my leg lifted my little toe up to my hands. I cupped my hands around my little toe and my fingers gently rubbed it. My vocal chords let out appropriate moaning sounds and calls for sympathy. My eyes were alternately squeezed together in pain then looking to see if I?d broken my toe. My mouth eventually swallowed several ibuprofens for pain. My whole body was hurting because my toe was hurting.
The Bible says that the church is Christ’s body:
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Jesus cares about his body infinitely more than we care about ours. Paul said that when one part of Christ’s body hurts the whole body suffers. When one part of Christ’s body rejoices, the whole body joins the celebration. When the church stubs it’s little toe, Jesus cares about it. If we immediately go to the aid of our little toes when we stub them, how much more does Jesus care about and move to help each and every member of his body.
When I stubbed my toe I didn’t say, “Oh it’s only my little toe. It’s not that important.”
You matter to Jesus. And you matter to your local church. No one in the church is unimportant. Every single member has a role to play and every member needs the rest of the body. My right hand can’t just decide it doesn’t need the rest of my body and go wandering off to do its own thing (maybe that’s what Thing decided to do in the Addams Family).
Maybe you?ve had a bad experience in a church. Maybe you were let down by a pastor or disillusioned in some way and now feel like you want nothing to do with church. There are some churches you should leave ? if they don?t preach the word or they tolerate sin. But don’t give up on THE CHURCH. Jesus has a place for you in his church somewhere.
Jesus has relationships planned for you. He has “joints of supply” for you. Just as in my body nutrition flows from my hand to my mouth to my stomach through my blood into my shoulder down my arm to my fingers (it?s highly technical – you probably wouldn?t understand it), so the grace of God flows from one member into another in Christ’s body. I need the grace that comes to me through others. I need the encouragement, the teaching, the exhortation, the prayers, the truth spoken in love by others.
Jesus cares about his body. He nourishes it and protects it and cleanses it and cares for it. We too should care about Christ’s body. We should love the church and pray for it and do all we can do to build it up and strengthen it. Don?t give up on THE CHURCH. Hey, the Corinthian church was a mess – they were taking each other to court, tolerating immorality, and abusing the spiritual gifts, and even badmouthing Paul, yet he didn?t give up on them but kept working with them. The Galatians were buying into a gospel of works, but Paul didn?t quit trying to help them.
Why not take a few minutes and pray for your church right now? Pray for your pastors. Pray for those who are hurting or sick. And pray that Jesus will continue to build and beautify his church.