â€¦the whole body, joined and held together
by every supporting ligament, grows and
builds itself up in love, as each part does
its work. â€”Ephesians 4:16
Have you ever seen a â€œMule Pull?â€ This is a very popular attraction at state and county fairs across the nation. The team competition is particularly fascinating. The skill involved in getting such powerful animals to pull together is obvious. At the driverâ€™s command, these beasts of burden explode into motion, pulling a massive weight-laden sled.
During a competition that my family watched several years ago in Pueblo, Colorado, I observed something that really roused my curiosity. In fact, it happened several times. Drivers barked their commands. Their teams responded with a furious effort to move the sled further and faster than all the rest. Often, just as they were giving their all, the driver called them to a halt.
â€œWhy does he make them to quit?â€ I wondered aloud.
A veteran spectator sitting nearby knowingly replied, â€œWhen they stop pulling together, they canâ€™t pull the load.â€
Pulling together, thatâ€™s the key!
Though the mules were working as hard as ever, they could not pull the load unless they worked together. This principle so fittingly applies to the Christian community, for we who are many form one body in Christ (Romans 12:5), which grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16). God intends for us to pull together!
Our purpose in doing so is more significant than pulling a dead-weight-laden sled. As the spiritual body of Christ, we are tasked to continue His ministry. This involves pulling together as we continue to offer Godâ€™s message of grace to the world, whether in some far away land or in nearby neighborhoods. We must pull together in order to develop healthy spiritual relationships with God and vital relationships with one another. Oh, how we need to be pulling together to render God-honoring service in the community in which we live. We are called to these and other such noble tasks. We must pull together!
The manner in which this is done is described in Ephesians 4:15-16. Here we are told that Godâ€™s desire for all saints is that we become more Christ-like. This is accomplished when members of the body of Christ work together to build one another up in love. We learn more about the functioning of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. It is clear in verses 14-19 that every member matters. Indeed, everybody is somebody in Christâ€™s body! The reason this is true is further explained in verses 20-27. Every member contributes to the whole body. The body functions as an inter-dependent unit.
There you have it! Churches that are healthy and functioning properly are:
1) attached to Christ, the Head; and
2) joined and held together by every supporting ligament.
Such churches are healthy and growing, because they are pulling together and experiencing the blessings of God.
Now read Romans 12:3-6a againâ€¦
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. 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 have different gifts, according to the grace given usâ€¦
May God help us use our gifts to the glory of God as we pull together under the yoke of Christ!!
Â© Bill Williams