By Joe Chesser
We are celebrating Labor Day this weekend. According to Wikipedia, Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.” Wouldn’t it be nice if once in a while we would take time to recognize the volunteer work so many Christians give that makes the local congregations stronger and healthier?!
It has often been said that 80% of the work accomplished in a congregation is done by about 20% of the members. That’s not true of all congregations, but I’m afraid it may be in many churches. On this Labor Day weekend I’d like to remind you that a working church is God’s idea. It’s God’s idea that every member of every congregation be actively fulfilling the work God gives them to do.
Sometimes Christians are tempted to think of the local church as just another civic organization where the members are free to choose to do whatever they want, or nothing at all. Just pay their dues (put something in the collection) and all will be well.
God has a different idea. Those who are saved by the grace of God through the blood of Jesus are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 – emphasis mine). God has an idea what He wants accomplished by His people … and He wants them to do it! When we become Christians God gives each of us gifts/talents, and He expects us to use them (Matt. 25:14-30). “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Rom. 12:6). God places leaders in the church “to prepare God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:11-12). He expects “each part to do its work” (Eph. 4:16). By doing so, the whole body, the church, “builds itself in love” (Eph. 4:16). To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good … and he gives them to each one just as he determines” (1 Cor. 12:7, 11). A working church is God’s idea. He supplies the abilities for each member to use. He supplies the church (body) within which the members do their work. He provides the leadership to equip the members. He provides the reward for those who are faithful in what they have been given and the punishment for those who choose to neglect their God-given work.
The question is not if you are doing as much or more than others. The question is: are you doing what God has in mind for you to do to build the church!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted at email@example.com