Story of the Day for Friday December 23, 2011
What Do You Mean ‘We’?
. . .to prepare God’s people for works of ministry, so that the body of Christ might be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith. . .
The apostle Paul is teaching us something that is hard to put into practice. He talks about all the different kinds of people God puts in the church, and then he starts talking about the unity, the oneness, he wants us to share. Being different and one at the same time is no mean feat.
You see, sometimes we don’t look for unity; we look for uniformity. We assume everyone should have the same gifts. Try to imagine an orchestra where everyone plays the tuba. That’s uniformity.
Unity is much better. When woodwinds, strings, brass, and timpani all play different parts of the score, a beautiful sound arises.
Leaders in the church are often viewed as “hired hands.” We pay them so that they can do the work of ministry in the church. It seems like a sensible arrangement – until we take a second look at what Paul is saying.
Paul explains that church leaders are not supposed to do the work of ministry for the people, but rather to train the congregation so that they can engage in ministry. Church leaders are like band directors. They have a role to play, but so does everyone else.
Even the very word “ministry” sounds churchy – like something only preachers are supposed to do. But the word “ministry” is really an earthy, down-home word. It is the word the Bible uses to describe what Peter’s mother-in-law did when she served Jesus and his disciples. It is the word the Bible uses for angels feeding Jesus after his time of testing in the desert, and for servants who wait on tables.
When we serve, we’ll all working toward the same goal – reaching unity in the body of Christ. And everyone’s service is needed.
Once, an old man at a country church in Minnesota showed me the old pipe organ. Though it now pumps air with a motor, he told me that, years ago, he had the job of sitting behind it and pumping the bellows with his feet.
It reminded me of a story of a well-known organist many years ago who gave a recital on a pipe organ. During the performance the boy pumping the bellows looked around the organ and said, “We’re doing pretty good, aren’t we?”
“What do you mean ‘we’?” the organist scoffed.
A few minutes later, in the middle of a dazzling piece, the sound slowly started to fade out until it stopped. The young boy popped his head around the corner again. “We’re not doing so good now, are we?”
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)