This week I’ve been mulling over something generated from last week’s ponderings. When the writer to the Hebrews (5:11ff) faults them for being dull of hearing he goes on to say that they should be able by now to teach others but instead still require spoon-feeding with the basics of their faith. In contrast to this are the mature who have trained their sensibilities to discern good from evil. These folks are ready to move on to steak! OK so I’ll admit it, I like to think this is me (except for the bit about being able to teach others–that thought intimidates me–maybe I too have some basics of the faith to fully digest!)
I was stopped short this week in my pious imaginings by Ephesians 4 with its reminder that we’re all in this Body together, intended to support one another on the path to maturity in Christ. It is most certainly true that I too am dull of hearing in ways I don’t detect(!) and I need you to point them out to me in love, even as I bravely open my mouth to bring truth to bear in areas where you need encouragement. This is Christ’s intention for His Body–all of us reaching maturity by that which each of us has to offer.
“I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love…there is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Eph.4:1-4 HCSB
Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please his neighbor for his good to build him up… Therefore accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God. Rom.15:1,2,7 HCSB
But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.—From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. I Cor.12:18; Eph.4:16 HCSB
Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor because we are members of one another…but only what is good for building up someone in need so that it gives grace to those who hear. Eph.4:25,29 HCSB
…speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ—until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Eph.4:15,13 HCSB
This weekend in Banff is the 40th annual edition of Melissa’s Road Race. Forty-five hundred runners will swell the slushy streets to compete for prizes. But this is not a picture of the church. We’re not running individual marathons in competition for first place. We’re gifted and called as supporting ligaments, arms, eyes, ears and kidneys of the Bride of Christ. And without the ‘proper working of each individual part’ there is not a functional Body!
I need the women I’d rather not be around. I need the one who has more to say than I want to hear. And I need to get over my complexes and be willing to speak the truth in love when it is called for, even if I fear rejection.
We’re all in this together, growing into the mature Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle. And we can’t do it without each other. That is something to ponder.
Thanks for being there, I need you.