Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
St. Paul, in the 12th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, tells us that we all make up the Body of Christ, the Church, and all possess various gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul also stresses that we, like the various members of a body, must all work together for the common good—health and well-being—of that body.
We all possess gifts, which are to be used for the care and well-being of the Church. Paul writes:
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.—ESV 1 Cor. 12:24b-31
St. Paul also points out that different people, with different gifts, have various responsibilities or jobs to perform in the church. He stresses that no matter what that job may be—bishop, pastor, preacher, teacher, elder, healer, miracle worker, musician, prophet, or one who waits on tables—not one is any greater than the other and all are needed and necessary for the church to survive, grow, and flourish.
Now, as summer is winding down and we begin to contemplate the resumption of fall activities, it is apparent that the body has become thin and lacking in some areas. The body is constantly undergoing changes, members come and go; however, the body’s needs continue. Therefore, it is now time for all the body members to rejoice, to be revitalized, encouraged, and renewed in their work for the common good of the body.
This is a time to give thanks to God for the gifts of the Spirit with which all the various members of our congregation have been blessed. This is also the time to push on; continuing Bethany’s ministry, for the ministry of this congregation requires the utilization of all of the gifts of all its members.
As St. Paul points out, for the body to be whole and function properly, all the various members of the body must do the work (use their gifts) that God assigned them. No one member, a few, or even many can do all the work of the body because each member requires the help, support, and encouragement of all the other members.
As your pastor, I encourage each one of you to take your place as a member of this body, working beside and with one another to do the work of ministry, using your gifts to aid and equip this body. As St. Paul said, “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’”—ESV 1 Cor. 12:20-21
The ministry of this congregation requires the gifts of all its members. One cannot set aside his or her gift without affecting the functioning of the whole body, for we are all members of the one body. So, let us continue to move forward, renewed and strengthened in God’s grace, called to ministry here in this place.
If you recognize a need, do not wait to be asked to act, volunteer!
In Christ’s service,