1 Corinthians 12:24b-26 - But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Few Scriptures address the cooperative working together of the body of Christ as fully as 1 Corinthians 12. The apostle Paul's classic lines "If the foot should say, 'Because I'm not a hand. I do not belong to the body,'" and so on, these are embedded in our thinking as to how the church should function, and the need for all Christians to join ranks in its healthy operation. Surely, Paul knew as well as anyone the necessity for believers to look out for one another. The early church's survival and growth depended on trusting in God to meet its needs, while the faithful were encouraged to do everything they could to help each other.
With pockets of believers spread across the Mediterranean in locations from Jerusalem to Rome, banding together as a tightly knit group—whether at Philippi or Corinth—this made excellent sense for Christians nurturing their faith and meeting the needs of their brothers and sisters. Serving those in need is often referred to by Paul (see Galatians 5:13; Romans 12:9-13; Philippians 2:4) and, of course, Jesus (see Matthew 23:11; 25:35-40; Luke 10:25-37).
Today, there are many examples of those in the body of Christ attending to the needs of others, here and around the world. Nationwide, there are all sorts of denominational assistance teams, disaster relief groups, and other organizations doing wonderful work serving others. For instance, very active in these efforts are Disaster Response Teams and Mercy Medical Teams which operate through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Depending on the need, they deal with everything from those impacted by California's wildfires to treating the sick in Madagascar.
On a different scale, but every bit as important, are Lutheran Hour Ministries' Men's NetWork service events like its annual WORK DAY. Here men's groups do everything from picking up and hauling trash to constructing handicap-accessible home ramps. Another opportunity for service, the recently completed Men's NetWork GIVES BACK event had guys spreading Christmas cheer over the holidays. Here groups helped the homeless, shared Jesus' love and LHM resources with Christmas parade-goers, and handed out Thanksgiving Day dinners to those in need.
That's the power of the body of Christ in action.
Gustaf Wingren, in his book Luther on Vocation, offered this comment from Luther: "God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does." As Christians, good works are the things we should do—not as a way to merit salvation but out of love for God and His creation. Gene Edward Vieth, noted author, scholar, and emeritus professor of literature, said this about vocation and serving our neighbors: "In Jesus Christ, Who bore our sins and gives us new life in His resurrection, God saves us for eternal life. But in the meantime, He places us in our temporal life where we grow in faith and holiness. In our various callings—as spouse, parent, church member, citizen, and worker—we are to live out our faith."
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You equip us by Your Holy Spirit to live for others. Teach us to take time for those around us, giving of ourselves and so sharing the love of Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
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