When you accept Christ as your savior and walk with God, you become part of the body of Christ: an individual member of the collective Christian movement and mission (1 Corinthians 12:27); that is, the church. This body is composed of people from all backgrounds, all with the same goal: that “all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Being a part of the church is not something we believers can choose to step into – you are inducted into it the moment you surrender your life to Christ, whether you choose to be a functioning part of this body or not. However, if you want to mature in your gifts, become more like Christ, and be a harmonious asset in the church, then you need to exercise your role in the body.
The church extends across the earth, with ambassadors serving God in beautiful diversity. Some serve as ministers and missionaries, while others serve on their local hospitality or greeting team. No matter which position you have, no one’s role in the body of Christ is the same or more important than another, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5). Everyone begins their service somewhere, and as we faithfully exercise the part we have been given to play, our roles strengthen the body.
If we grow in what we have been given, God will give us new positions and responsibilities (Proverbs 20:24, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 4:11-12). With new roles come trials and testing, but it is in these that our character is built: …because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). For just as Jesus said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1: 2-3).
When the body is given the endurance to run, we can be assured that we will finish the race well, as a living testament to the gospel (Acts 20:24). And when we cross the threshold of heaven, how sweet will it be to hear: well done, my good and faithful servant (Matthew 25: 21).
– Jennifer Ann Turner, Staff Writer