Summary: A sermon about offering our whole selves to God.
By: Ken Sauer, PAstor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
Our media saturated culture tends to value our bodies according to how they look.
Do we have “buns of steel?”
Are we able, without causing an entire room full of people to roll on the floor in hysterics, to refer to our arm muscles as “guns”?
Have we got “6-pack abs?”
It doesn’t take but a couple of seconds on a crowded beach to quickly figure out that almost none of us have a body which fits some “cookie-cutter template” for so-called beauty.
So when Paul says to us, “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship…” it can come as a revelation to us to think that our bodies could be acceptable to anyone, let alone God.
But this is a revelation and also a reminder that the beauty of our bodies lies in what they were made to do, which is to connect us with others.
Think about it.
Vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell—these are all relational abilities.
And Christianity, and thus life is about relationship—relationship with God and relationship with others!!!
One of the most important things that we Christians need to get our minds around—and one of the things that will have the most immediate and long lasting impact on the way we live as followers of Jesus—is the call to live as different members of a single Body!!!
A colleague talks about Michael, a faithful member of his congregation for years.
Michael was a quiet man who didn’t really have any desire to serve in positions of leadership within the church.
One day, Michael, only in his fifties, died a sudden death that shocked the congregation.
And in the weeks that followed Michael’s death, the congregation seemed to be a bit “ragged” around the edges.
Much of this “frayed” feeling came due to grief, but there was another reason for it as well.
Things just weren’t getting done.
People would arrive at the church and realize that there wasn’t any coffee.
The ushers would reach for the offering plates and realize that they weren’t there.
Small thing after small thing fell through the cracks.
Because Michael had always done them!
These tasks didn’t appear on any list anywhere because they had always “magically” happened, quietly, with no one having to think about them.
My colleague says, “Now we have to think about them, list them, and assign them.”
Michael may have had no idea how vital his simple actions were to the healthy functioning of the congregation.
“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.”
We, you and I, are One Body!!!
We aren’t a conglomeration of individuals vying for power and importance; we are One Body.
If we are separate, we are just fragments, but together—together we are whole!!!
This is what Paul had in mind when he gave us this image of the Church.
“You are like a body. Every part of you is important.
And every body part plays its role in the body’s total health.”
If one part fails, the entire body suffers.
What part are you?
Are you performing your task?
Some of the things that Paul lists in Romans Chapter 12 include serving, teaching, encouraging, helping others, financial giving, showing mercy…
…and obviously this is not an exhaustive list.
It could go on and on and on!!!
Are you doing what God is calling you to do?
There really is no such thing as Scriptural Christianity outside the realms of the Church.
That means, that Christianity happens within the congregation…
…working together, living with, and worshiping with other Christians.
That doesn’t mean that Christianity only happens on Sunday morning, but it does mean that it happens in relationship with Christ and other people.
“Present your bodies to God,” Paul says.
And what Paul means by that is present your entire lives to God!!!
Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit and the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works.
And on a larger scale, the Body of Christ is the Ultimate instrument through which the Holy Spirit works!
“So,” Paul says, “take your body; take everything you are and everything you do…
…take all the tasks that you have to do every day; take your work at the office or the factory; take your work at school or at home and offer all that as an act of worship to God.”
Real worship is offering every moment of every day to God!
We might say, “I am going to church to worship God,” and that is good and right.