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31 May 2010

hearing-impaired ping pong

Yesterday at a friend's house I played ping pong for the first time in many, many years. I'd forgotten how much I love ping pong!

The ping pong table was in the garage, along with a massive drum set. Three of the four of us in the room were drummers. I am not a drummer. My two friends and my son Nelson are. We all took turns playing the drums (I even played a song or two), and at one point while one of the others was playing (accompanying a CD at moderately high volume), Nelson and I decided to play ping pong.

As we played while music was blaring, I couldn't hear the ball hit either the table or Nelson's paddle, and I noticed how much of a handicap that was. I'd never thought of hearing as an important element in ping pong, but coupled with my eyes telling me where the ball was, my auditory sense apparently played some role in telling my hands what to do. I had no clue until my hearing wasn't available for my brain to use.

Of course, the first thing I thought of was the body of Christ. I'm sure you've heard hundreds of parallels like this.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

One of the reasons we now meet with believers in a setting other than that of the typical modern church (please understand that I'm not casting any stones at fellow believers who meet and serve in that way) is that we've seen in that setting a definite reliance on just a few members of the body of Christ; an expectation that they're to do the work the entire body should be doing. This is not just a regrettable situation caused by a few lazy believers, but it's a very natural, logical product of the structure of most modern church fellowships.

This not only causes atrophy in the rest of the body, but it presents, showcases, and continually reinforces the idea that human leaders are actually the heads of the Church (the head tells the rest of the body what to do) or that a few really good, super-spiritual Christians are supposed to perform the function of the entire body. Neither is true.

When I serve in a leadership capacity as a shepherd, for instance, or when I teach, I am filling a role as one of the members of the body. I am not the head. That place is reserved for Jesus Christ -- not just in some theological concept, but in reality. I alone am not the body of Christ. The community of believers is. The Head tells the body how to function. When you meet with the believers bringing your gift of faith, telling the others of how God truly did supply your need in accordance with His Word (just like you knew He would), or when you come with the gift of encouragement, lifting up the broken-hearted among the body, you are functioning in a role for which you're equipped and intended. Within this framework the body is built up as a result and is able to function as a strong, healthy unit.
When a part of the body is not allowed to perform its function, is stifled, muted, or never given exercise, the result will be that the entire body falls short of what it could/should be doing.
In the case of ping pong, a lost sense -- one that I considered to be unimportant in playing the game -- impaired my ability to adequately play. Yes, I still functioned and was able to hit the ball back most of the time, but I performed far short of what I'd done when all my senses were allowed to function.

What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. - 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NASB) (emphasis mine)


John King said...

Excellent point...Any distractions can cause a beliver to slow down, fall short, or just give up on the modern church. I found in my experience with the modern church.
All but 1 ive attended. Is as you said the leaders are acting as the head an not the body. This allows for alot of problems. Some would use the term the church has become a business. I agree it has in some churches. When this happens. The church forgets it true responseabilites. Care for the widows. Help the poor. Etc... I attend home church. It has healed my family. How? We can discuss our views, than open the Bible an see. The Bible has All the Answers. I too am not bashing the modern church or belivers who prefer that type of setting. Music, short race to lunch. Everybody has a Right to worship the way they feel is best for them. But for me, im like a have dry sponge. In home church, not only do we all grow as belivers by digging deep into the Bible. We also grow together as brothers an sisters. This causes our sponge to get soaking wet. What happens when you have a sponged full of water. It drips or pours out. so if im so drenched with the word. That will spill out when im in contact with unbelivers, an belivers. There will always be distractions in any church. The most important thing I have learned. Not to Judge. That is for God. Knowing that an understanding it gives my family total peace. I have heard an wittnessed others who are hurting. An seen the change in them due to we all lift each other up. An constantly pray for one another. One man gave a Testimonial. I shared how I found peace. We just started a few weeks ago. If I can see change for the good in others, an myself. Put on your seatbelts. Because we are going to wittness so many Godly Events take place. I'm truly Blessed to have the oppertunity to attend a home church. Lastly, again im not bashing the modern church. We all have our own opinions. To be honest, I belive followers like myself who attend home church get bashed more. Meanning we are Not doing what the Bible says. So my question to anyone who disagrees with home church. Where in the Bible does it say we have to go to a building specifically built to worship in. Jesus gave his messege Everywhere. He didn't go an look for a building to send his messege.

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