Fran* came in the ministry center for food. She is a tall woman with a firm handshake and eyes that tell me she is weathering brutal storms. She sat across from me and shared her story. Her husband is 6’ 3” and once weighed 240 lbs. Now he weighs 140 lbs and is barely clinging to life. For years he sprayed Crossbow, a chemical treatment that kills weeds, on poison oak and blackberries. Often when the summer heat bore down he took off his protective gloves. Eventually, the amount of chemicals that penetrated his skin produced a condition I cannot even pronounce that is now killing him.
Fran’s two sons are in high school and are giving her a hard time. She is dealing with severe epileptic seizures. Life right now is tearing her apart. So I asked about her spiritual background. She was raised a Catholic and from her childhood has always attended the same church. Her husband is a Methodist and sometimes they frequent a local Methodist church. I asked her if either church knew of their situation and suffering. She nodded yes. I asked her what they were doing to help her and she said “Not much.”
1 Corinthians 12:25-27—This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored. All the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (NLT)
The Apostle Paul under the leadership of God, makes it gemstone clear that when one person in the church suffers, the whole church should suffer. There is no slick means of evading this teaching in the letter to the Corinthian church. I don’t think the Lord’s intent was that we always suffer. I think His intent was that we be compassionate, long-suffering and sensitive to those with whom we fellowship. I asked Terry to read 1 Corinthians 12 to her priest and share her sense of isolation.
Friends, please understand if I vent with you for a moment. If the church does not take up its God-given mandate to care for its members, than it is NOT an organism that God intended for protection and growth it has become an organization, a club, a gathering that may be valuable but certainly is not in compliance with God’s will. Organisms cannot help but suffer when a member is in pain whereas organizations grow callous and practice surgery. It’s much easier to cut off “the leprous” as inconveniently unclean.
I suspect that revival comes when we persevere with the hurting and seriously trust God in prayer for their healing! By the way, He supernaturally heals people today! If we don’t believe that than we’ve seriously limited His working by our own unbelief and set ourselves up not to care for fear of failure. God will not awaken organizations. He works with organisms! We are to be the body of Christ not the club of Christ. We are to care not just congregate.
God is the architect of the body of Christ, which is composed of those who have experienced regeneration and sanctification, and this body is the habitation of the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:19-22). The saints meet together as one through this ministry of the Holy Spirit, not through external organizations. The body of Christ is an organism, not an organization.—Oswald Chambers in Not Knowing Where
*Not her real name.
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)