Part of Something Bigger
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“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. [W]e have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”—1 Corinthians 12:12–13, 18, 271
Paul spoke to the Corinthians about how within one job, each person has their part to do for the Lord and that all the credit shouldn’t be given to just one person. At the end of the day, the Lord is the one who touches people’s lives and changes them for the better; we simply help lead them to Him. Maybe our part was to say a kind word, give them a smile, pass on a scripture or a quote to read, or to pray with them. And aside from our part, we’ll never really know how many others contributed to that person’s encouragement or change as well.
Paul said, “The Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service.”2
“Co-workers in God’s service.” I like that. It helps me look at fellow Christians differently. Rather than nit-picking over doctrinal differences or denominations, I look at them as co-workers.
I’ve also decided not to get discouraged if I don’t see the results of my labors, either immediately or over the long term. I’ll leave that up to the Lord and His timing. Remember, the commendation we want from the Lord at the end of the day is, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”3
In the meantime, let’s enjoy the little blessings and successes that come our way, knowing we’re all part of God’s great master plan.—Nina Kole
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”—1 Corinthians 12:274
One reason for the existence of so many denominations is disparity in personality, passions, and talents. Consider individuals for a moment. Some people connect with God best through the exercise of their minds or while in nature. Others experience spirituality through creative or artistic expression. Still others feel a sacred or divine connection when they serve others or help those who are hurting.
While all of these are admirable and valid means to connect with God, it’s no surprise that different churches and even whole denominations embodying these distinctive personalities have emerged.
Another reason relates to the role of tradition. Some people appreciate the structure and heritage of worshiping God according to traditions passed down over many centuries. Thus, they might be more comfortable in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, or Lutheran churches. Others, however, prefer to explore new and different ways of worshiping God or practicing their faith; they might feel boxed in by rituals or traditions. Therefore a nondenominational church might suit them best.
Culture plays a critical role as well; people from different cultures practice their faith in distinctive ways. It should not surprise us if churches in a middle-class English town are extremely different from those in a war-torn, poverty-stricken village in Africa. Consequently, churches and whole denominations will vary greatly depending upon the geographical location and cultural values of the people themselves…
Finally, it should be noted that a lack of uniformity among Christian denominations does not necessarily imply a lack of unity. Regardless of church, denomination, culture, or geographical location, there are a few central tenets that unite virtually all Christians.
Christians believe in a three-in-one God—made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believe that all humans are sinful and in need of grace. Moreover, Christians hold that only Jesus—through his life, death, and resurrection—makes it possible for us to experience God’s forgiveness and grace. Christians also believe that the Bible most clearly reveals these spiritual truths.
As one Christian once wrote: “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”—Norton Herbst5
“There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.”—1 Corinthians 12:5–66
An understanding of the will of God is desperately important for every Christian seeking to live a life that is pleasing to his or her Creator. It is a very practical thing for us to know what God wants for our lives.
A Christian asks: “What are my marching orders? What should my role be in contributing to the establishment of the kingdom of God? What does God want me to do with my life?” It is inconceivable that a Christian could live for very long without coming face-to-face with these gripping questions.—R. C. Sproul
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”—1 Corinthians 12:7
Vocation (Latin for “calling”) refers to the unique way in which God has chosen you to fit into His great plan. Prior to bending the knee to Christ, many people lack that sense of purpose which can only be found in vital union with God.7 In other words, there is a connection between what is known as God’s effectual call and His call to a vocation. When God effectually calls a man or woman by changing their heart, He also gives them a life-calling; He enlists them in His service…
Vocation is taking your skills and applying them to the plot of life God has given you. The plots of our lives vary but our purpose is the same: to bring the principles of God’s kingdom to bear in every area of life. If this is so, the next logical question is, “How do I find my vocation?” …
Our chief calling [vocation] is to walk rightly before the face of God as citizens of His kingdom. The talents God has loaned each of us are meant to build up God’s kingdom, not our own.8—William Boekestein
Published on Anchor March 2019. Read by Jerry Paladino.
2 1 Corinthians 3:5–9 NIV.
3 Matthew 25:21 NIV.
7 Romans 8:28.
8 Colossians 3:17.