And He Himself appointed some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ.
I recall one of my first job interviews during graduate school. I sat down with a partner from a large big-city firm, and he proceeded to press me with questions. Some of the questions I expected, while others I did not. One of the more surprising questions was whether I play any sports. I proceeded to tell him that the only sport I really follow or play is tennis. He then told me that he prefers to hire people who play team sports. His reasoning was that those who primarily play individual sports or no sports at all do not know how to work within a team. And although I did not point out to him that there are many other ways one can learn the value of teamwork, I could appreciate the sentiment behind the question. He was looking for someone who would work not to build himself but to build the team.
Today’s scripture reminds us of one component of our Christian service that is important to remember. The acts of service that God requests and requires that we fulfill are not merely about us individually and him. These acts of service fit into a greater picture for the Church. As we work individually and corporately to accomplish those things that are God’s will in the area of service, we build up the Church body in the process. This building up of the body is really a unification of the individuals. When I grow in my own walk of faith, there is a specific purpose unique to me. When we as the Church grow in our collective walk of faith, there is another purpose. We cannot forget that we are more than just individuals. God’s call for us to serve and our obedience to that call is integral to the encouragement and growth of the Church at large. It is one of the building blocks of this team.
It may be obvious that corporate service would accomplish the goal of building us corporately. But individual service also builds us corporately. One of the ways it does this is by influencing other individuals within the Church. The same way you look to other brothers and sisters for direction and instruction, there will be brothers and sisters who look to you as their example. You may not be aware of this, but it will be the case at some point in your walk. Perhaps your obedience in serving as God has called you to serve will encourage others to obey the same call of God. Or maybe your example of a good servant’s heart will prompt others to decide to serve alongside you. Father, thank You for the honor of being able to encourage your Church through our service, and reveal to us opportunities to serve together in your name.