Summary: The needs of the body of Christ are abundant but God has taken care of that by strategically positioning the members in the body in order to meet the needs.
Have you ever done any renovation? I remember a friend of mine who was good at renovating--sometimes too good. He and his wife bought an old house in Catonsville and began to renovate it. He was the kind of guy that would go into a job with a sledgehammer, smashing all the old stuff, making way for the new. Sometimes, he would hit the wrong thing, like a pipe or something and say like, Steve Erkle, "Did I do that?"
Some people don't like to renovate. Slumlords don't like to renovate. They normally hate spending their money; so instead of a makeover, they cover over; instead of fixing it up, they dress it up. I've been in some of these properties where the walls have several layers of paint with different colors, or the plumbing and electricity has been patched instead of repaired and it makes you wonder how they get away with it.
Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on how we might renovate our church. No, I'm not talking about sanding and painting or fixing the plumbing or electricity, but reconstructing the ministry of our church in such a way that God's focus becomes our focus, and God's priorities become ours.
I'm not talking about doing patch work here or banging a nail there to keep things looking pretty and appearing like they're ok, we've been discussing some major renovation--like removing walls and installing new fixtures.
The way we've approached ministry in the past reminds me of a Popeye the Sailor cartoon.
Olive Oyl is in a boat and the boat begins to leak. She plugs up the hole with something and then the boat starts to leak in another place. She plugs the new hole with her finger. Another leak begins, she plugs that hole with another finger. Water shoots up from another place and then another and by this time she has run out of fingers and toes and the boat sinks.
Over the past couple of years some of us have felt like we were on a sinking boat. Every time there is a need it has been like another leak spraying in our faces. You already have a couple of leaks plugged and then Pastor Chuck or someone else in the church has the nerve to ask you to plug another.
Let me paraphrase a verse in the Bible, "God will not give you more leaks than you can bear" (1 Corinthians 10:13). I believe that when God sends Christians to become members of a church, He does so that they might help to plug the leaks, fix the boat and help keep it in good working order. God won’t send our church more leaks than we have the people to plug them.
I believe that Scripture teaches that there is a leak that only your finger can plug successfully. I may try to plug it or someone else may try to stop your leak, but your hole only fits your finger and it's still going to leak unless you plug it.
The trouble is that when I try to stop your leak I may have to pull my finger out of one of my own leaks to plug yours. This is Scriptural, because the Bible says, "The strong must bear the infirmities of the weak," (Romans 15:1) however, Paul is speaking of assisting weak brothers or sisters, not filling in for dead-beat Christians who have abandoned their commitment.
The needs of the body of Christ are abundant but God has taken care of that by strategically positioning the members in the body in order to meet the needs. This is what the apostle Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 12:20-27
(1 Cor 12:20 NIV) As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
(1 Cor 12:21 NIV) The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
(1 Cor 12:22 NIV) On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
(1 Cor 12:23 NIV) and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
(1 Cor 12:24 NIV) while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
(1 Cor 12:25 NIV) so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
(1 Cor 12:26 NIV) If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
(1 Cor 12:27 NIV) Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.