Harmony: Different Together
Part of the Whole
Day 1. Read Matthew 16:13-18. When we talk about the body of Christ, we are talking about the church. Who does Jesus say the church is? On Sunday, Cory taught about this. He said, “The belief that Jesus is the Son of the Living God is the foundation of the Church.” The Greek word Ekklesia, usually translated “church,” actually means gathering. The church is the gathering of believers. Does that change your perspective on what it means to go to church? The location isn’t the church. The people are. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. Think about the ways you are representing Jesus outside of Sunday service. Have you ever thought about church in this way? How would this change your perspective on Sunday mornings? Spend some time in prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom to know what steps you can take to become more like Jesus to those around you.
Day 2. Read I Corinthians 12:4-6. We all are aware that each of us was created uniquely. We are different genders, ethnicities and have different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. There are no two of us exactly alike. It should not be surprising, then, to think that God has created us spiritually unique. He has gifted us uniquely and works differently in each of us. When a ballerina takes the stage, one would expect to see a beautiful performance with everything working together as a part of a well-rehearsed dance. Every part of the body moves in harmony, complementing every other part to make something much more delicate and graceful than simple toe-tapping. Every part of the dance is choreographed beautifully, the whole body in sync, each part working together, balancing the dancer and keeping her moving. This is how the body of Christ is designed. How do you view the church? Do you see it as a work of art or as a building? When with other believers this week, pay attention to how each of us can work together to reflect Jesus and can be the church.
Day 3: Read I Corinthians 12:17-18. Each of us has a role to play that, when in sync with the body, has greater potential than any of us alone. Imagine the dancer poised and ready, anticipating the music’s downbeat. The performance begins as the bows are gently pulled across the strings of the violins. The dancer lifts her hands above her head and begins her routine. As she takes her first step, she stumbles and falls to the ground. She has two left feet. Can you imagine? What was previously such breathtaking potential now lies in an embarrassed heap on the stage floor. If the right foot decides it wants to be a left foot, it will cause the whole body to stumble. Are you fulfilling your role or do you long for another? If you are currently playing a role, how are you affecting the church?
Day 4. Paul writes in I Cor 12:27: “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” The body of Christ is “bigger than me.” Consider a personal experience where you were part of a “bigger than me” scenario. A team? Your marriage? Your family? A workgroup or partnership? You might find yourself working on a project with someone you wouldn’t normally even talk to, but you are united in something bigger that causes the differences that normally keep you separate to matter less. God has invited us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Isn’t that awesome? God has invited you into His plan – to fulfill your role in the growth of His Church and the advance of His Kingdom. Do you see Jesus’ church as “bigger than me”? Ask God to show you a bigger version of church than you’ve ever seen before.
Day 5: If the church is the gathering of believers, how do individuals affect the health of the body? We each have an important role, and it’s good for us to learn how to best serve within the body. Read I Corinthians 12:22-27. What does this tell us? Learn what role suits you but be careful not to think that your role is more or less important than others because all parts are necessary! Also, consider your motivation. Are you content to just go to church, or is your desire to be the church? Consider ways that you can make a tangible difference in the world around you! Pick up the Summer Guide at the Next Steps Center for ideas to serve. How about VBS later in June? Or consider learning more by attending a three-week class on SHAPE on Monday evenings starting June 18 (see the program for details or contact Patrick Hukriede at firstname.lastname@example.org).