The Functional Body, Part 2
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
In Romans 12, the discussion of the church as the body of Christ emphasizes the way all parts of the body minister within the church. This passage reveals that every member is called to and gifted for ministry in the body. The church as the body of Christ will be fully functional only when every member does its part (see, for example, Eph. 4:16).
But our ministry as Christians is not limited to our care for other believers. The church also is Christ’s body in the world. Even as the physical body of Jesus was the means by which God inaugurated his kingdom on earth, so now the church as the body of Christ is God’s agent for extending his kingdom.
Thus, when the church gathers for worship, fellowship, and mutual care, we exercise our gifts to build up the body of Christ. Similarly, when the church scatters out into the world, we continue to be empowered by the Spirit for ministry. As God’s people, we are ministers to one another in the church and to our neighbors in the world. The Spirit-led ministry of the people of God knows no boundaries.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How are you exercising the power of God’s Spirit within the body of Christ? How are you exercising the power of God’s Spirit in the world as a part of the body of Christ? Is God calling you to a new way of serving him in the world?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I want to pray for your “church scattered.” Too often we limit the range of our ministry to our gatherings as your people. Our calling to mutual ministry is clear. But you have also sent us into the world as your ministers. You have given us your Spirit so that we might reach out to our neighbors with your truth and love. Moreover, you have placed us in our workplaces and schools, in our neighborhoods and clubs, in our positions of civic service and leadership, so that we might be your ministers.
Help each and every member of your body, Lord, to be an ambassador for you. May we represent you well through our words and deeds. Give us wisdom to know how best to be an active part of your body in the world, as well as in the church. Amen.
P.S. from Mark
If you’re looking for further discussion of the church as the body of Christ, you might check out a couple of series on my website: The Church as the Body of Christ and Spiritual Gifts in the Body of Christ.