Grow Up: Yes, You Matter!Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we 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. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 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.
In these few reflections, we have seen that growing up in Christ depends on Christ. He is the head from which the body grows to maturity. He is the one who supplies what you and I need to be mature disciples.
But, it would be a mistake to think that Christ makes us grow without our participation. In fact, every single one of us matters to the growth of the body of Christ. As it says in verse 16: "From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
Did you catch that last phrase? Here it is again: "as each part does its work." The original Greek of this phrase speaks of the energeia of each part, a word from which we derive our word "energy." Thus, the body of Christ will grow to be what God intends it to be only if each one of us invests our personal energy in this great work. When it comes to the growth of God's people, yes, you do matter. You are essential.
Now, I realize that many Christians don't believe this. Perhaps they have never been taught that they are essential to the health, life, and growth of the church. Perhaps they have heard this, but simply don't believe it. Perhaps their church is structured in a way that suggests they don't really matter. It is all too easy for churches, by their very organization, to imply that the ones who really matter are the clergy and, perhaps, a few major donors. Yet this is not the church as God intended it. Rather, the church is, by its very design, something that requires the energy of each and every part.
I know that many of you who receive these Daily Reflections already believe that you matter to the growth of your church. You are active in service to the body and in living out your ministry in the world each day. But, I expect there are some of you who, if you're honest with yourself, have a hard time believing that you matter to the church. Let me encourage you to spend some time reflecting on this passage and its truth. If your church experience has discouraged you from thinking that you really matter, it may take lots of time and prayer for the truth of God to penetrate, heal, and encourage your heart. But, the truth is clear. When it comes to the growth of God's people, you do matter!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you believe that you matter to the growth of the body of Christ? If so, what has helped you to believe this? If not, what has led you to disbelieve it? Do you have a part in the health and growth of your church? What is your part? Or what might be the part you are not yet playing?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for designing the church like a body in which each and every part matters. Thank you that I matter. Thank you that my fellow members matter.
Please help me, Lord, to do my part. Help me not to think of myself as inessential. Help me not to believe that the pastor is the only one who really matters. May I be faithful to you in serving my sisters and brothers, so that we might grow up in all ways in you. Amen.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All week on The High Calling, we’re focusing on transitions in the workplace, home, and community. Are you experiencing change in your life? Join us each day this week for articles, interviews, and reflections on thriving in transition. Or, do you know someone who is going through a transition right now? Encourage them by sharing one of this week’s articles via email or social media.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.