Mathew 18:20 (NKJV)
“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Have you ever attended a big sporting event where they lead everyone in a cheer that begins with “We are,” and everyone else fills in the name of the school or team? Maybe you worked for a company or organization that had a mission statement that starts with “We are”? How about attending a self-help group or self-awareness training that begins by asking you to write down “who you are”?
There will be many events, organizations, and learning opportunities during our lifetime where we will be asked to define just who we are. If you can remember back, your answers probably changed depending on how you were feeling or what you were going through at the time. Many of us also like to play chameleon and blend into the background wherever we might be.
Even just being a fan of something does not show who you really are unless you are one of the people with no shirt on, wearing body paint. Then one might assume that you are so dedicated to the overall goals of the organization that you are becoming part of it. In most cases we can wear a team’s colors, but we really are not part of the team itself.
This is true in other parts of life as well. We can work for a company for twenty years and not be a part of the organization. We show up every day and just do our job, we get inspired at meetings but slip back into our comfortable rhythm when we get back to our work area, and we may even volunteer to help at an event only to fade into the background when it’s over.
Some of us have special skills that set us apart from others, but we choose to use them sparingly if at all. In school you may have enjoyed writing and always had a book in your hands, but now the only thing you read and write are social media posts. You can whip together a party for your child or a friend, but you are scared to help organize the fund raiser at the community center.
The world can be filled with obstacles that are real or imagined that can hold us back. We all need to take the time to evaluate all areas of our life. Most of us will not start at the same place when we do this because we all have areas that hold our interest more than others. However, the majority of us will begin with the word my. My family, my friends, my job, and so on.
This is normal, but we need to then look beyond ourselves and how we truly fit into the world around us. Often, when we step outside ourselves, we can identify certain relationships or places that inspire us or that comfort zone we retreat to. But when we are not there, we can turn away from an opportunity and blend back into background.
This is comparable to what happens when people who profess to be Christians attend church. You are usually in a comfortable place with others who are there for similar reasons. You may feel your spirit being lifted as you sing and can get inspired by the possibilities you find in scripture or during the message.
I was like this for many years. I could feel like dancing on air ready to make major changes in my life, only to walk out the doors to return to my normal routine. This did not change until I finally understood that the church was more than just a building. It was really the people who came together to fellowship and sing praises to the Lord.
This is why the opening verse has such meaning. It is not just the formal gatherings that are organized, but anytime we meet to study God’s word or glorify His name. Therefore, we definitely have to look not only beyond ourselves and the walls of our church, but past our concepts of religion. Too many people want to divide Christianity.
We find a great description of the early church in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”
All of us who believe in our Lord and Savior are all members of one church body. It means that no matter where we live or the name we put on the sign out front, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We can spend hours arguing over manmade doctrine that has nothing to do with love God has for us or how we should live or love each other.
Continue reading on in 1 Corinthians 12. We find that no one part is more important than any other and each of us have something to contribute. Too many of us don’t think we are good enough to be part of anything. We use excuses like we don’t look good, speak well, not smart enough, or just can’t. Remember, God loves us all equally no matter who we are and what we do.
If we are really honest with ourselves, not many of us have taken the time to consider if we have any special God given talents or skills. Romans 12:6-8 lists some of the gifts we may have been given. Prophecy, teaching, encouraging, giving, leader, and mercy to name a few. So, show up every day for the Lord both inside and outside the church using the gifts you have been given. And when someone asks who are we? Reply “WE are the church!!”
SERVE EACH OTHER
I gather with others for worship and sing praises to you Lord,
Then listen to a message and read verses from your Word.
I can become so inspired by everything I hear,
And see all the possibilities with a path that seems so clear.
Then I walked out of the building and forget what came to mind,
Easily slipping back into the habits that leave me feeling blind.
Lord, I have been told that you have many plans for me,
How do I remove all that hides what you want me to see?
My child, what happens as you gather and the fellowship you feel,
Reveals to you my presence and that my love for you is real.
To keep that feeling lasting for more than just a day,
You must first begin to think of the church another way.
It is more than just a building where you sit just once a week,
It is a body of people who can lift you up when you’re feeling weak.
Wherever you come together my Spirit is always there,
Bringing my grace, mercy, and comfort for all of you to share.
Each person has unique gifts that they have been given,
To be used to help others in this world that you live in.
No matter where you are from, you are a sister or brother,
You are all part of the same body, here to serve each other.
Simple Faith Christian