Ephesians 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Growth, and for that matter success, is dependent on structure and cooperative effort. Even seemingly insignificant, minor details are often essential to the whole. That is clear right now with the economic embargo of Russia over the Ukraine war, as they are unable to get parts from the West for their aircraft, and maintenance becomes a major issue. Sometimes the lack of a $50 part can keep a multi-million dollar aircraft from flying safely. The same thing applies in churches. People may think they are insignificant and unimportant, but the Body needs all its parts to function correctly. The loss of one toe, for example, can make a person need to learn to walk all over again, because balance depends on all the toes being there. We tend to think of toes as only being “necessary” for finding furniture in the dark! Churches grow as God intends when individual members realize that they are as much a part of the whole as the pastor or any other staff member is. As verse 12 of this chapter famously declares, the job of the “big name” people is “to prepare God’s people for works of service,” not to do all the work themselves. As this verse says, growth happens when every supporting ligament, each part, does its work. When churches really grasp that, growth is organic.
This has been a major area of weakness throughout my ministry. I was gifted in many different areas, and far too often I have taken the “easy” course of doing things myself instead of training others to do them. Recently that situation has improved, I think, but we are currently facing another test, because my wife is showing strong evidence of needing another back surgery, and she is my first responsibility. The schedule for this week is packed, but things will have to shift and change. Thankfully, God has recently provided another pianist, so my wife is freed from that for this morning’s service. The question arises of what help to get from whom. Most of the scheduling conflict isn’t directly church related, but I am certainly reminded that I am a small cog, totally dependent on the grace of God. I am not omnipotent, whatever I or anyone else might have thought! I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in my Lord, just as He has told me to do, so that I can hear His guidance and operate in His wisdom, not trusting my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6) God has been doing some very good things in this church recently, and I’ve got to remember on every level that none of it is my own doing, but it is all His grace and mercy.
Father, thank You for this, too. I hate it that there is so much pain for Cathy involved, both physical and emotional, but I thank You that You never allow anything in our lives that You can’t use for good, for blessing. I pray that Your purposes, and Yours alone, would be fulfilled in every detail, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!