the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
Anyone who has suffered from back problems knows a “little” pain in the back can be debilitating. It seems strange that so small a member of our body – a vertebrae or a disk of only an inch or two – can render the whole person incapacitated. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” seems to be true when it comes to taking care of our back. We often do things that result in a back injury simply because we don;'t think about the consequence of our actions.
The Bible refers to small, “insignificant” parts of the body of in a couple different contexts. In describing the Christian community, Paul says, those parts of the body which are apparently somewhat feeble are yet indispensable (1 Corinthians 12:22). In other words, every Christian is important. Every Believer brings something to the mix; when one's contribution is missing the whole body suffers. If we fail to recognize each person's importance it is because we are blind to how the body works. We tend to think of Body ministry in terms of “spiritual” activities and overlook the practical matters. Some members of the body are present to bring balance. Their contribution may go unnoticed because they don't seek the limelight. By nature, their ministry to the Church blends in, enhancing the whole with a subtle ambiance that is recognized only in its absence.
Unfortunately there is another “little member” that is often used to drive away these more fragile components of the body. James says, the tongue is an insignificant part of the body, but it is immensely boastful. Remember how a mere spark may set a vast forest in flames. And the tongue is a fire. That world of iniquity, the tongue, is placed within us spotting and soiling our whole nature, and setting the whole round of our lives on fire, being itself set on fire by Gehenna (James 3:5-6).
Some Church goers seem to think their ministry is to set everyone on fire. They believe their opinion takes precedent over all else and demand their voice be heard on every subject they choose to involve themselves in. Sometimes they will let loose on a feeble member of the Body and drive them away from the Church. Sometimes the quiet members leave even when they are not the target of the big mouth's ire. In any case, the body suffers – twice. First, because it is roiled by the mouthy member and secondly because the subtle fragrance of the tender Believer is lost.
When we suffer from a back ache in the natural realm we quickly take measures to alleviate the problem. We take pain relievers, see the chiropractor or therapist and avoid activities that exacerbate the problem. We do these things because we have responsibilities we must fulfill. Letting our body fall apart is not an option. Why don't we do the same in the body of Christ? Why do we often let mouthy members rule the roost while sensitive Christians fall by the wayside? It is wrong to allow the Church to grow bland for lack of delicate flavoring.
It is wrong to neglect the duties given the Church because our back is out of joint.