Thursday, October 28, 2010

Building the Body

Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed working out with some friends of mine. We are middle aged guys not trying to regain our athletic youth, but just hoping to slow the natural aging process. A couple times a week, we’ll lift weights in my buddy’s basement, do pushups and ab crunches. It all takes an hour or so each time and we enjoy each other’s company as we exercise. In between weight lifting days, we do some running on our own. A couple of the guys routinely train for the 15 mile River Bank Run but I’m happy to make it through a 5K or two each year.

Exercising the body really helps. It’s helped me get stronger, healthier, and keep my weight under control. But recently, I’ve had to shut it all down. I’m not running and I told the guys I would not be lifting for a few weeks. Why? I have two parts on my body that are refusing to do their job—my middle toe and a little tendon in my elbow. Both are inflamed and scream when I use them to run or lift. My mind, my legs, my shoulders, my back all want to run and lift but those two little things are holding everything back. You may be asking, “How did you hurt your elbow and toe?” The answer—I have no idea. Back in high school, I always had a great story to tell about an injury. Now, at the age of 45, I just seem to wake up injured, swollen, and needing Motrin.

It’s no wonder why Paul compares the church to a human body. In three of his New Testament letters (Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians), Paul uses the body as an object lesson to teach about the church. He actually calls the church the Body of Christ. In order for the human body to thrive in athletics or in work, all the parts need to function in harmony. In order to do a simple pushup, the brain, the eyes, the shoulders, the feet, the back, the hands, the chest, and the elbows need to work together. One hurting part, like a tendon in the elbow, can slow it all down. But when all the parts are healthy and working in harmony, the whole body gets stronger and more effective as it works out.

Mark is a good friend of mine who I’ve enjoyed watching grow spiritually over the years. I’ve seen Mark grow in a myriad of ways through Bible study, small group discussion, and by walking through difficult circumstances. But, I’ve noticed when Mark serves as a part of the Body of Christ, he grows fast and strong. And when he serves with others in the Body of Christ, it’s a wonderful, effective endeavor. Mark serves every Saturday night as a small group leader for seven-year-old boys in Discovery Village. He also serves in our mentoring ministry helping people one-on-one get through something difficult or get to the next step of their spiritual growth. I’ve watched Mark come alive as he does his job in the Body; and I’ve watched other people come alive as a result.

So, what’s your role? What’s your function? What part of the Body are you? Do you know? Are you functioning in harmony with others? Get busy being part of the Body of Christ and watch God come alive in you and watch others around you grow.

This week's author- Phil Niekerk, senior small groups pastor

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