After Paul has explained to us how to know the Father's will he launches into one of his (and my) favorite topics; the function of the Body of Christ. This topic fascinates me because I believe if we could get this right we would see the Church impact the world in incredible ways. I long to see the Body of Christ function in a healthy manner. I think there are pockets of brilliance but for the most part we are dysfunctional. Why? First of all I don't think we have the mind of Christ. I think we stumble over the first part of this passage, we resist the renewing of our mind and we try to function without the perspective of Jesus.
So here is the problem; I do not think we can follow the next set of instructions without a renewed mind, which for me is to have the mind of Christ, which is to have his perspective through the Holy Spirit. What is the next set of instructions?
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. v. 3
Humility is far more important to the function of the Body of Christ than most people realize. This is not the only time the Spirit speaks through Paul on this subject. We also read in that wonderful passage of Philippians 2:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. vv. 3-5
The only thing people should experience from the Church is kindness, gentleness and love. It is never the Church's role to condemn. We are to function together to demonstrate to the world the heart of the Father. That is not any easy thing to do and requires a team of specialized people working closely together, functioning as one unit to do this. In order for them to function well they must understand their purpose and they must understand the importance and their dependance on the other members of the team. Paul refers to this team as the Body of Christ. Without each member being humble in their approach to one another the Body cannot function:
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)
One of the finest examples I have found recently of a part of the Body functioning in humility is a church called The Fields. In speaking with the pastor he has told me that they are thrilled to share their resources with other churches as they themselves need the resources of other churches. Willing to share because they recognize their own need to receive. This is refreshing after encountering so many attitudes of "we don't need anybody because we have it all and we are the answer". We belong to each other. I need you and you need me. You belong to me and I belong to you. With this understanding, with this perspective that we have gained by the renewing of our mind, we are able to step out in our function, our role, our gifting, our calling:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. vv. 6-8
It is hard to teach from this passage simply because you either get this or you don't. Either you have the mind of Christ or you don't. Either you are humble or you aren't. Either you understand we belong to each other or you don't. Either you long for this to happen or you don't even know you should desire it.
I find the phrase "let him" interesting because it strikes me in two ways. Let him, as in "if this is what you were given to do then do it". As well there is the thought, let him as in "allow him to do it". The second part is simply my thought that it is a valid consideration today because we so often block people from functioning according to their gifting and calling. We block them because we could never imagine God calling that "type" of person to do that sort of thing. I could go on four hours on this topic because we trip each other up due to our lack of humility and our need to control. But let's set that thought aside for today and just embrace where we could be in our function if we would start with the renewing of our mind, allowing us to understand the Father's will, living in humulity with each other.
Please pray about this. If we all prayed for the Church and focused upon our own lack in this area I think we would have more than one church as a shining example of the Body functioning as the Body was designed to function. Whatever you do today do it in humility and to the very best of your ability so that Jesus will be glorified.