January 27, 2019

A Healthy Body

Passage: 1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 31a
Service Type:

It hasn’t happened yet but it soon will.  Stephanie and I are going to join body fit.  We are determined to get back to exercising.  We both need to get healthy.  If we will do that, we both know that over all we will feel better, be stronger, look better.  Or at least that is the overall goal we hope to achieve.

But to get there, we know that we cannot just focus on one part of our body or just one or two exercises; we will need to incorporate a series of different exercises that will target all of the main areas of our bodies in order to stay in shape:  The stomach, the legs, the arms, the back, biceps, triceps, all of it together will help us to trim down and be faster, stronger, better and sharper not just in body, but in mind and spirit.

The body of Christ.  The church, our church, is no different.  For us to be a healthy body, we must make sure that each part is working out on a regular basis.  In order to do that it is important to first learn how it all works together, and then specifically how our particular part plays into it.  The better we understand the overall purpose of the body and our part in it, the healthier we become overall.

To understand how each of our roles within the church function, there are some things to help us accomplish this, first there is the book of discipline.  In it is a general description as to what each committee does, how it is to do it, what it cannot do.  I say it is general for a reason.  You see, like each human body is uniquely different, so is each church.  To be sure we share very similar qualities.

Where one church may need to have a strong understanding of mission and strong mission committee and team because it is regularly sending mission teams all over the world, another church may just need to make sure that its members are aware of local opportunities to be in mission and other ways to support them.  But it is still a vital part of the church no less.

To be sure, each church has its unique strengths as well as areas of growth.  Some churches are great at organization and administrating, while others may just get by.

But it is up to each church to strive to do its best with what it has and what it can do.  That is why in each area, the church needs leaders; lay leaders like you.  It is also why each member should strive to find a place to serve, leader or not.

But, just as you exercise your body, you must do so following some guidelines.  For instance, if you have a goal to run a marathon, you don’t just go out one day and try to run that marathon, you build up to it. Otherwise you will do great harm to your body.  When you are running you will want to pay attention to your surroundings, the traffic, the terrain, you don’t want to run into a car, or a pothole or over obstacles that will cause you to fall.  Of course you don’t want to cheat either, that defeats the purpose.

In being a Christian in service and particularly as a leader, you want to hold to the highest standards, follow the laws and rules, seeking the training, the help and assistance along the way.  There are people who will give you that if you just ask.  Myself, as the pastor, and where I may not be able to, the district office and the conference.  They also provide training to help you understand and grow.

All of these things are in place so that our church, our body can grow into and become a more healthy body, but not just for our sake.  Each of the gifts you have been given, the gifts that we talked about last week.  They are not just meant for you, but they are meant for a higher purpose, a greater gift if you will.

That greater gift that has been given to each of you, all of us, is in fact, Jesus Christ, yes, the very one who has blessed you with the gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit that has gifted you with special qualities, the Father who has gifted you with his love through these two beings, the Trinity is our greater gift.  And it is for their sake that we use what we are blest with to give back in the way of reaching others with the blessed news of salvation, hope, renewal, faith, love.

That is why all of us, no matter what we do, plays a critical, vital role in helping the church to be the church.

Just think about it for a minute.  What if the church did die?  Some have you know.   It may not seem like it has affected a lot but actually it has.  When a church dies, no longer do the people who were there have a place where they can gather to gather in the same way.  No longer is that church helping in mission and outreach, no longer is it sending out disciples.  No longer is it calling others in to serve and witness.  No longer is it making an impact in its local community the way it once did.

We know as individuals, that sooner or later we will die.  Our bodies do eventually give out.  But we also know that the healthier we are, the better chance we have of extending our lives.

When we are a part of a healthy, vital living congregation, did you know that is another way to extend your life here on earth?  It is because the healthy hard work that you put in through faith will help to carry your church well into the future.  It is what your ancestors did when they formed this  congregation 200 years ago, when they built a new structure to worship in in 1873, when they added an education wing in 1960’s and a fellowship hall in the 1990’s.

You see they wanted to make sure that their church lived on, doing its mission, bringing the Word of God to the people of the Northern Neck; teaching, preaching, singing, praying, laughing, working together all in and for the Spirit of God.  Using their gifts, growing in them. Learning what they could and could not do, all in order to be a healthy body for Jesus.

So I charge you officers of the church, I urge the members of your committees, I pray that all who desire to make this your church home, or who find comfort here, to see your way to help make this body of Christ, the healthiest it can be.

But in doing so, do not forget to take care of yourself as well.  For we simply cannot do what we do without you.   Amen