Posted by: thedianestory | October 19, 2008

Taking Care of the Body

I am not talking about our physical bodies in this post. I am talking about churches. Churches taking care of their body of believers. How should churches take care of those within their body of worshipers? I believe the church can get so caught up in ministering to the unsaved, that they can forget that there are people within their own church who are hurting – physically, mentally and spiritually, who need some love bestowed upon them. Or perhaps they are rejoicing but could still be in need of service. They may be elderly and need yard work done, or new parents who just had a baby – maybe they need a meal brought in. How should the church continue ministering to the lost, but not forget those within their own body? Where is the balance?

There are people in the church who are sick, weak, hurting, separated, divorced, abandoned or any other adjective you can think of. Is it not the church’s responsibility to care for those people? It seems that people who are in those situations who are not at church are sometimes more likely to be loved on (to be ministered to) than those who are already in the church.

I had posted previously about single women in the church and many of you had good insight. Now this current topic is heavy on my heart and I’d love to hear from my readers what they think. So, if you read this but usually do not comment, PLEASE weigh in on this discussion!

Here are some verses as food for thought:

Matthew 25: 31-46 (Too long to post here – but you should look it up) http://www.biblegateway.com

James 5: 13-15
The Prayer of Faith

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

Romans 12: 9-16
Love

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Warning!

    Oh, honey. NOW you have hit my button.

    This is my heartbeat.

    You know, when I would speak in California on Love Your Neighbor, I found that the real message was Love One Another, since we are not doing it. I also found that people weren’t ready for that message yet. Not the way I was sharing it, anyway.

    What I kept asking at the meetings and workshops was this, if we have a baby and bring it home, will it want to live here? Will it run away? Will it become homeless? Will it be abused, abandoned, rejected?
    It is one thing to introduce someone to Christ. It is another to bring them to church.

    You’ve told them about their wonderful oldest brother, Jesus and about their amazing Papa, but what will they see when they come “home”. Will they find Him there?

    If all they see of their new family is gossip, fighting and feuding, lack of forgiveness, no mercy, no kindness or thoughtfulness, selfishness and the same sins as the world walks in, why would they want to stay? What are we teaching them as they grow, anyway? To read the Bible and not live it? To be like us, little clones of us but not resembling their Father?

    We tend, as a church to want to make others clones of ourselves, dress this way, talk this way, don’t do this, do that, learn the language, etc. The truth is, Jesus was the express image of His Father, so we could see and know the Father! Shouldn’t we be the same? As we know Jesus, and take the time with Him, shouldn’t we be increasingly like our Papa? Shouldn’t the world be able to taste and see that the Lord is good when they are with us? Jesus is the bread of life, and we are His body. So, Bite Me!!! LOL!

    We are to bear fruit, and fruit is sweet. Our babies should be in an environment to grow in sweetness and safety all through their lives. We are also to BE fruit (Gal. 5.)

    A church, like a family is filled with all sorts of people, of many ages and developmental stages, talents, gifts, personalities and life experiences. So, you can have an infant, a toddler, pre-schooler, kindergardener, grammer school aged, tween, teen, adults, seniors all at the same time. You will have one burping up on you, messing it’s pants, wetting, and cooing and another pinching, biting, pulling hair, another tantruming, crying, mouthing off, refusing to do what is asked, another shadowing you and imitating everything you do and say, another challenging you to your face, another locking themselves in their room and refusing to come out, one who seems to live to torment the others, one running away, one learning skils like learning to cook or drive, all at the same time! And the list goes on.

    Additionally, in the body of Christ, we also have people of all ages and personalities in spiritual matters and responses, so we are definitely the more interesting family to deal with. People come to us from life, and already have their own peronsality traits, temperaments, wounds, habits, belief systems – paradigms- filters of how they hear and see and interpret that, philosophies, family situations, etc. Then, they come into new life and have to learn a whole other way of living, which takes stages of development just like a natural life does. Plus, they have this HUGE family, and a new Father who thinks like no one else does. What is THAT about?

    Some develop faster and everyone seems to love them more, yet many lack character and maturity with that. Gets kind of messy. Interestingly, the world expects more of us and judges us more harshly. They don’t understand that we have the double=whammy of family on us -both physical and spiritual. But, we should be understanding that ourselves, shouldn’t we? Right!

    We tend to hurt each other more than we know. But the wonderful gift to us is a special thing God instructed us in. It is called forgiveness. If we will walk in this, and I don’t mean the phony stuff of saying the words and not intending it in your heart, we will be healed of our hurts and set others free at the same time.
    The thing about forgiveness is that it is NOT natural. It is spiritual and goes against everything we feel and want to see happen!

    It is not about us. It is about the big picture. Daddy’s house. It is a deliberate choice and act. It is an exercise in liberty. Give it up to God in obedience even though you don’t feel it or want it, and it sure doesn’t make sense.

    Keep doing it, like exercise and eventually you will start thinking like your Papa and releasing it more gladly. One day you will find yourself weeping for these people and wanting God to bless them and work in their lives for their prospering. You will want them in heaven right with you. When that happens, you have forgiven and are so free nothing can bring back the old responses.
    When the church gets this, forgivenss, mercy, kindness, tenderheartedness, patience, LONGSUFFERING, love, then joy and peace are with us, too and the world will be beating down our doors.

    Our differences are built in us to help refine us and complete us as people and as a body. No one is all things. We need each other.
    So, we should appreciate those things that are not things we have in us, understand or naturally gravitate to in others. I have found that many of my best and dearest friends in the body are those whom we have had to hammer out relationship with, and I mean for years, even decades. They are my greatest treasures and allies, my true friends.

    My greatest regrets are the things I have said along the way about people, and what I have said to them. You can never take your words back, so be careful with them.

    Hang in there with each other. Forgive and pray for one another. Many physical illnesses will leave us when we live this way, and when others respect us, too.

    I believe some of what we go through physically is because there is so much biting of each other with our words and mouths. The things we say have life, and I am trying to be so much more careful now of my mouth. Jesus said to be careful lest we bite and devour one another. That is cannibalizm. Ugly, yes?

    Could it be that the sister or brother you gripe about because they are always sick/weak are just being eaten for lunch? Could it because we are holding them hostage with unforgiveness? Could it be because they are doing the same to others? Hmmm.

    John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Now THIS is scary, isn’t it? I, personally don’t want to be standing in front of Jesus and learn that someone didn’t make it because their sins were retained on my account and kept God’s hand from moving. I really truly want Jesus to have everything and everyone He paid for! I love Him. I want Him to have all He should have, and that is everything and EVERYONE, absolutely everyone. I don’t want to cause His tears as He is sending someone away that He loves so much He died for, just because they did something to me or someone I love and I couldn’t forgive through it all.)

    John 20:19-23 The first thing after Jesus was risen, and appeared to the frightened apostles He came and stood in their midst, spoke peace to them, showed them his scars, spoke peace again, sent them, gave them the Holy Spirit and immediately said to forgive (verse 23 above). It looks to me to be of great priority.

    Matt. 6:14, 15. (For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will aslo forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their tespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”) … Ouch! (Even More scary.)

    Matt. 7: 1-6 (Judging one another -picture an eye surgeon coming at you with planks cjutting out of his eyes, groping and having a sharp thing in his hand to operate on your eyes! Uh, I don’t think so!)

    Matt. 18 15-20 (if your BROTHER…) This obviously is for family and verse 18 says we can bind up or loose what we agree together on, and it is in relation to offenses in the family!

    Matthew 18: 21-34 (my BROTHER..and I forgive…) this whole chapter expresses the heart of the Father on humility, offenses, forgiveness and respect.

    2 Cor. 2:10 (When one of us forgives, others should agree and forgive too so that satan cannot take advantage of us.)

    I noticed that the gospels are our instruction in love, forgiveness and how to live as family. We need to get back to basics, the foundation of who we are and why we are here.

    Lord, give us Your heart for one another. Let us walk in love. Not the mooshy kind, but the forever kind that bears your fruit
    (Gal.5) and shows who our Daddy is.

    May we be one, as You are one. You are three of you in one, yet each independently being different in appearance, purpose, work, and even physical nature, yet you have one nature, one purpose, one Presence, one love. That is how we should be, like You! Separately together, individuals united in Your nature and Your Presence.

    You have said that before You return, we will be known on the earth by our love for one another. Because every word of Yours must come to pass before you return, I know that You are not coming today. I know that we have to get this one. We MUST. Let us transform into Your likeness soon. We are not getting this one yet, Lord. Transform us. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

    Galatians 5:22-23
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.
    Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
    Galatians 6 1-5
    Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourlf lest you also be tempted.
    BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, and so FULFILL THE LAW of Christ.
    For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
    But let each one examine HIS OWN work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
    For each one shall BEAR HIS OWN LOAD.

    Galatians 5:14, 15
    For ALL THE LAW is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
    But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
    Matthew 22:37-40
    (Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself – on these two commandments hand ALL the Law and the Prophets.)

    All scriptures quoted are from the NKJV

  2. Alright, so I am very wordy today.

    One thought on the subject of how the church should function toward the needs of each other:

    When the Word says, Bear one another’s burdens, it also mentions for us to each bear our own load.

    I believe that a load is everyday stuff, responsiblities, etc., things we can deal with and just need to get up and do it.

    I believe the burden comes in when, for whatever reason, you are handed something in life that is just to much to handle or tackle on your own. It becomes a burden, even growing sometimes to a huge burden, an impossible thing that we just can’t deal with, no matter how we try.

    For each person, a load is defined differently, depending on their personal circumstances or natural abilities. Some are stronger, taller, smarter, saner, etc. and so their load is defined by their own abilities. Our personal load is not defined by someone else’s definition or ability.

    We should always do what we can, so as not to use, wear out or over-burden another person or group. That being said, when we are in a situation of a burden, and we are just not up to the task of dealing with it on our own, it is time for help to come alongside and bear it up with us, even for us if we are flattened.

    The church is seeing each other through natural eyes much of the time, as the world sees. And, we still judge as the world judges, by our own definitions and understanding.

    We need to come to a place to see as God sees. We need to risk being used in order to reach in a help with someone else’s burden. If they are using us, then that is their burden before God. He will reward us for walking in love and mercy, whether or not someone was dealing honestly with us. W can always be in prayer to walk in wisdom and move by the Spirit. We cannot be what everyone needs, but we can do some things for some people.

    The thing I have learned is that someone else’s burden is usually not a burden to me. It is easier for me to lift than for them. I also find that my burdens are not as big a deal for others to help me with.

    This a lesson in humility, and God will humble us under His hand when it is time. The cloak of humility is a powerful garment on our armor. It moves God’s heart and hand on our behalf, and brings vengence for us.

    The question is, will we, as a body be His help for each other? Will we be kind, respectful and considerate, not proud not grumbling, gossiping or judging each other as we reach in?

    Sometimes, another person’s burden or weakness just doesn’t make sense to us. This is because it is not our burden. We don’t neccessarily understand why someone could not just rise up and do what we think they should, or what we can do. We want to tell them how to handle it, or keep it from happening again.

    The truth is, many times it isn’t something they can do anything about as you might be able to. Or, maybe they did bring themselves to this, but they are now under it and can’t get out. Usually, we are learning our lessons from the burden and don’t need a lecture or guilt heaped up on us. If we do need wise instruction, then there is a time for that and a heart to deliver through. It is time for grace and mercy to come into the House of God. Let Him be the teacher, judge and whatever else and let’s be his body…arms, hands, feet, pocketbooks, smiles, shoulders to cry on, ears to listen, whatever we are equipped with for this need.

    Many times God comes to my help through people, even those who are not yet His. His love puts on skin and if I will accept it, it is His gift to me.

    You STILL humble me, Lord!

  3. Wow. Shelley Jo. Wow. I can’t write much right now, but later I will write more. And I am actually probably going to send you an email, cause some is too personal to write on the web to the public. But Thanks for your input. You should really copy all you wrote here and post it on your blog as well, so more people will see it!

    I love you and will talk to you soon.

    Di

  4. I haven’t read the other comments yet, but Silas is waking up and I want to comment now, so I don’t forget. I’ll make it quick! 🙂

    I think the church needs to take care of the needs of the believers before taking care of the lost. Assuming that these people want to be ministered and cared for. If they don’t, then that’s a whole different story. If my marriage is falling apart, how can I minister to another married couple? If my kids bills aren’t being paid I can’t pay someone else’s bills. In the same way, if my fellow brothers and sisters are hurting, broken, poor, etc.. how can I ignore their needs and minister to the lost?

    With that being said, I don’t think they problem is always the people in the church, but moreso the church structure. People don’t know how to care for other people or even that they’re supposed to. One of the things we love about Zion is how the church is set up. Each person has a leader and a disciple. Ultimately, the pastor has 12 disciples, they each have 12, and so on. Each leader meets with their disciples in a cell group. In the cell is where the needs of the individual are met. Prayer and ministry happens, financial help is given. Last time we moved we did it in 2 hours because our cell groups helped us.

    In most churches the pastor is expected to do all or most of meeting those needs. It’s not possible for one man to do that for 200 or 500 people.

    Ok, I need to feed Silas. Great posts, Diane. It sounds like this is hitting very close to home for you. Is there a need that someone close to you has that I can help with?

  5. Morgan, you are so on track.

    It takes the whole body to minister to one another and meet needs. If you look in scripture, Moses was given a team to help him because his father-in-law was wise enough to see the job was too much for him, and in the new testament many were commissioned and had hands laid on them for ministering so the needs of the body and the masses could be met in a better way.

    I know of many churches who are now doing cell groups or small groups meeting mid week to get to know one another and to know each other’s needs as they are shared.

    None of us have arrived, and I think God is letting us go through more things at the season on the earth so that we will wake up and realize where we need to strengthen, and to strengthen each other.

    The Lord never asks us to give what we don’t have, so if we can’t pay our own bills, we are not to charge our gifts to others. Only give what you have. However, if you make a mean pot of chili or soup and invite someone over for a meal that may need the food and fellowship, or even a break from cooking, then you are still giving provision.

    If you are someone who has energy for phone calls or cards sent by mail, then that is a way to lift someone up, too. Whatever we have is what we give and share out of. When we all live like this, then all the different needs can be met and not depleting one person too much.

    Plus, the leaders/pastors are blessed with a well-cared for body and a happy bunch of people of lead. That gives them what they need, too!

    None of us have been as great as we should be loving one another, or living this out, but many are getting it and improving along the way. This is the way of God, to grow us up from babyhood to full maturity. We just forgive others and ask to be forgiven and keep getting up and keep moving forward.

  6. Hi Dianne,

    I just found this tonight- for some reason your comment didn’t reach my inbox, and I wasn’t aware of your invitation to comment until now.

    I honestly don’t know if it is my experience or my perspective I am speaking from right now, but I feel I have always been blessed by the body of believers I have been a part of during my entire walk of 18 years. I know there are people out there with horrible stories, but I am happy to say I don’t have any. Churches aren’t perfect, people aren’t perfect, but I have never felt forsaken by the body when I was in need.

    As far as priorities go, I think it isn’t an “either/or” question. We must do both- minister within and reach out to the lost. A healthy body will do that naturally. If someone have a heart or burden to see more ministry to the body, it may be God has placed that upon that person and is calling him or her to service in that regard. A church that is lacking in something also needs someone to lead the charge in that area, organize the ministry for it, etc. Noticing the problem is only the first step. Then it’s time to be part of the solution. Too many people bail on churches, when God wants to use them.

    Just the two cents from a sheep, turned shepherdess, turned sheep again:)

    Blessings!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: