As I was sitting in church one Sunday, we joined hands and prayed for God to send rain as Australia was being ravaged by bushfires. One area particularly impacted was our beautiful south coast of New South Wales, so popular with summer holiday makers. When our children were small we would spend a week each year with my husband’s family in a beautiful south coast town, and we would always pop into the local church on the Sunday morning we were there. One memorable Sunday, the pastor (who was also the local doctor) made pancakes in church. He talked through all the ingredients as he mixed them together up the front, explaining how each one was integral to the finished product. He then cooked them in front of us, and everyone got to sample the fruits of his labours. I’ll never forget how thrilled my kids were to see something so unique in church.
Our own pastor preached that Sunday in a similar fashion, using a cake as the analogy. To eat raw eggs or flour or any of the individual ingredients on their own isn’t all that palatable, but when they come together in the right measures, are mixed well and baked at the correct temperature for the right length of time, the result is satisfying and well worth the effort.
We saw the same pattern in the efforts of our firefighters as they encountered a fire season like no other before it. So many skills were needed to keep people and properties safe and not everyone could serve on the frontlines 24/7. A great team effort was required, from driving trucks and earth moving equipment, organising shifts of volunteers, fuelling and maintaining vehicles to providing a hot meal for the crew at the fire shed before they went out for their twelve hour shifts and looking after them when they emerged at the other end, hot, filthy and exhausted. Some of them, such as our neighbour that morning were charged with the duty of letting anxious people know whether their properties had survived – and the news wasn’t always good. Our little town came together to support the ‘fireys’ in any way we could – men and women who were all volunteers. Everyone came together to play a part in the bigger whole.
The analogy to the body of Christ was unmistakable. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 Paul writes, ‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ’.
God created us all to have a role to play, and prepared works in advance for us to do. Whether it’s teaching, baking, being a volunteer or fighting a fire, we have to be willing, and to step up and be taught if needs be. Otherwise we can have a foot or an elbow trying to run the show, with disastrous results. The body of Christ will only be effective for the Lord if we’re obedient to the role He asks us to play. What is He calling you to today?
Prayer: Father, I want to walk in Your ways and into whatever You have planned for me. Show me the way to take, and help me to work in harmony with all parts of Your body. Amen.
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