When we are part of a group, human beings have some interesting tendencies. I have heard stories of gun shots being fired in apartment complexes yet nobody calls the authorities. Later, when everyone was questioned by the police, most people said they heard the gun shots but assumed somebody else would call 911. We have the tendency to take less responsibility when we are part of a group or community. Maybe you have experienced this when working with a group in school or at work. I don’t think laziness is always the culprit causing this to happen. Some probably feel like somebody else is better than them so they should do whatever needs to be done. Some may feel like what they do is less important because their efforts will just be watered down in the scheme of things because they are just one person.
As a part of the church, we make up the most important group on earth. We are to work as a body fulfilling Christ’s will here in this world. However, when you think about Jesus’ teachings, he didn’t just throw out blanket statements to a group and hope it would trickle down to the individual. Most of the time he gave very direct and personal teachings to us as individual disciples. In the Sermon on the Mount, when he would begin teaching on certain topics, he would say things like “You have heard it said, but I tell you…”, “When you pray”, “when you fast”, or “Therefore I tell you…” He was very personal and direct. We have an individual responsibility to follow Christ and when we do that we strengthen the church as a whole.
In his book Forgotten God, Francis Chan talks about a question his youth minister asked him and I would like to share the concept of this question. If everyone in the church were exactly like you, if they shared your exact zeal, if they had your prayer life, if they shared their faith like you, etc. What would the state of the church be? It is kind of a scary thought isn’t it, but the truth is we each make up the church.
I know we all have different God given talents and it is by God’s design we are not all the same. However, our individual gifts mean very little if we are not using them. We shouldn’t all be doing the same job, but we all should be producing fruit.
I think we are good at noticing the shortcomings of the group but poor at acknowledging how little we may be contributing to the group. When we criticize the church we also inherently criticize ourselves. You have effort and Talent God wants to strengthen Christ’s church with. It’s time for us to take our role seriously, take ownership, and start contributing in whatever way we can. We may feel inadequate or inconsequential to Christ’s church, however, God is in the business of doing great things through inadequate individuals who allow him to do so.
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