Let’s be honest, relationships are hard. People are VERY different from each other. Everyone grows up with different experiences, in different environments, and with different training. Plus, God has masterfully created every person with their own unique thoughts, gifts and emotions that are completely different than anyone else on this planet. With all these massive differences – smooth, comfortable, understanding relationships are hard to find.
At some point in most relationships of substance, they can be described as messy and difficult. Close relationships take a lot of hard work, not just hours of hard work – years of hard work! And even after years of sacrifice and investment, sometimes relationships don’t survive.
As a result of relational stress and failures, people often become fearful, closed and cynical. Some people begin to withdraw from others feeling life would be much easier without having complicated relationships with people. Not only is this true in the world, unfortunately it’s also true among Christians, the church - the Body of Christ.
As I was preparing a message for my church last Sunday, a Scripture came to life in a way I had never seen it before. The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Corinthian church (I Corin. 12:19-21 The Message Bible);
“But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Hand telling Foot, “You're fired; your job has been phased out"?”
As I was in the middle of preaching my message Sunday, a new picture formed in my mind around those verses and a new understanding dawned on me. In the past I have often challenged people to be responsible members of the Body of Christ because they are needed. Without them, the Body is not complete and healthy. That is absolutely true and I will continue to trumpet that call.
Not only does the Body of Christ need us, WE NEED THE BODY OF CHRIST! “No part is important on its own”. If my finger is cut off from my body, my body will be in great pain, suffering and not complete, but it can survive. While my body can survive without my finger, my finger CAN’T survive without my body! Without being connected to the body properly, the finger is dead, without meaning and insignificant.
I see many people in the Christian world today who are withdrawing from the church – the Body of Christ. The stress and potential of failure have convinced many to close the door on meaningful relationships in the Body of Christ. They often think they only need Jesus. While Jesus is our complete source of salvation and access to God the Father, we also need the church, the Body of Christ.
So – why bother with people? We bother because we experience true life and significance when we are joined to others. WE NEED the Body of Christ in order to be alive! Let’s not let past failures, wounds and difficulties hold us prisoner to an insignificant, lonely life. Let’s trust God for relational protection and be willing to find those people God has purposed for us to connect with in His church.