Sixteen is a special number, but not because I had a sweet sixteen party.
From my first recollection until the present, I’ve belonged to sixteen churches. Like any other child who doesn’t have a choice about where they attend church, as a preacher’s kid I didn’t either. And since my dad didn’t stay any one place long, I had been in five churches by the time I reached sixteen. Then I went into the ministry and repeated the pattern.
As I’ve made the rounds, I’ve seen my share of oddities in churches. One church melted when ladies began wearing pantsuits. Another had to wait for the monthly business meeting so they could vote to purchase the necessary parts to repair a toilet. Still another lost a few members when they decided to use the family life center for something other than meals. Quite a few had policies to follow if a person of another race showed up. One was even bold enough to close down the sanctuary and move to the family life center to accommodate the growth in numbers they expected.
While different from each other, all sixteen churches shared a commonality. They were fitted together perfectly. Those on the outside may not have understood some of their beliefs or practices, but those on the inside knew the why’s of them intimately.
Each of these sixteen churches was a body unto itself. But they also formed a body collectively—even though they encompassed different denominations, beliefs, and worship styles. Their commonalities included belief in Jesus Christ and members using their gifts.
As the human body only functions perfectly when each part is operating normally, so does the church. It’s up to me to determine what part I am—what gift God has given me, and then to locate a church where I can fit my part into the existing ones. When I discover the perfect fit, my body part will enable that church to further advance God’s Kingdom. But if I try to fit where I don’t belong, I’ll only experience frustration and create discord.
Have you discovered the church where you’re the perfect fit?
Prayer: Father, help us discover the place where our gifts will fit perfectly.
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