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body of Christ

Browsing

“The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29, New Living Translation).

The wonderful thing about the body of Christ is there is room for everyone. It doesn’t matter if we are young, old, or somewhere in between. Nor does God look at intellectual abilities, our personal appearance, our physical strength, or any other measurement society places upon our worth. Sometimes we allow the world’s criteria to influence how we feel about ourselves. A better way to view ourselves is through God’s eyesight. Everyone has value. Everyone has both strengths and weaknesses.

Proverbs 20:29 shows two ends of the spectrum, youth and the aged. Youth has physical strength and energy, but age has the wisdom that comes through experience. God uses both. Neither age group has a viable excuse not to be active in the work of the Lord.

God Uses Youth

Jeremiah tried to use his youth and inexperience as an excuse with God, but it didn’t work. “’O Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!’” (Jeremiah 1:6, NLT). God didn’t agree. “The LORD replied, ‘Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you’” (verse 7). In other words, get busy!

Paul instructed Timothy to be an example to others—all ages—even though he was young. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NLT).

God Uses the Aged

Old age doesn’t disqualify us either. “Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:7, NLT). Remember, this was at the start, not the end, of their days in leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Many more years of service remained ahead of them.

Even if we have lost some of our youthful energy, we still fill a valuable place within the body of Christ. Job 12:12 tells us, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old” (NLT). Psalm 92:14 promises we will be alive and fruitful. “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (NLT). We have modern day examples of this within the local church and into regions beyond. Numerous retirement age men and women, now in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, involve themselves in various missions endeavors at home and abroad. They remain active and fruitful in reaching souls wherever they go.

God Uses Us All

Ecclesiastes 9:10 sums it up well. Regardless of age, physical condition, or other challenges we might face, we can still be useful in the kingdom of God. He has called us, so let’s get busy.

“Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go” (New English Translation).

Prayer: Lord, please use whatever talents and abilities You have given me to advance Your work wherever I go. If You open doors of opportunity, help me to walk through them with faith that You will enable me to complete the task.

 

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” I Corinthians 12:13-14, 18

In this passage of Scripture Paul is comparing the body of Christ to our natural bodies. It is amazing the way God created our bodies, so many different parts and each one fulfilling a special purpose but working together with all the other parts to make us a whole person.

When one part of our body hurts, the whole body is affected. If you have ever had a broken bone or even just stubbed your big toe, you know how it makes you feel miserable all over. When an accident or sickness causes someone to lose a part of their body, the rest of the body works extra hard to make up for this lack. People have learned to live without an arm or leg, but life becomes much more complicated.

As the body of Christ, we need each other. None of us can make it on our own. We rely on others in our local church for so many things. We all need friends and what better friends do we have than those who share the same faith and beliefs. When we face sickness, trials, or adversity, we rely on our church family for prayer. When we do not feel like praying ourselves, we can have confidence that they are lifting us up in prayer. We receive strength and encouragement from each other as we gather together to worship the Lord.

Each one of us has our part to fill in the body, and this Scripture tells us that God has placed us in the position that pleases Him. By each one of us doing our part, the church grows and is strengthened. We all have our gifts, talents and abilities and as we find our purpose and place, the body functions as God desires.

Prayer: Jesus we thank you for your love for your church, and that you have a place for each one of us to fill. We need each other. Help us to faithful to the purpose you have for each of us.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“God sets the solitary in families” (Psalm 68:6, New King James Version).

Have you ever been surrounded by people and yet felt isolated and lonely? A crowd can be a very lonely place. It’s a common problem in our busy.

We all have lonely times in life. Our very mobile society may contribute to this. Many of us no longer live near family and childhood friends. For others, loneliness is caused by death, divorce, broken friendships, a lack of close relationships, limitations as we age, or other life events. In our crazy, rushed world, relationships also suffer because we don’t make time for each other and lose our closeness.

Jesus Understands

Jesus understands our feelings of loneliness. He endured them Himself. Although surrounded by crowds during His years of ministry, He was misunderstood, rejected, and forsaken. One meaning of the word solitary in Psalm 68:8 is “forsaken.” The Lord understands our emotions (Hebrews 4:15). At His darkest hour, one disciple betrayed Him and the others forsook Him. He cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  When we feel all alone and thinks no one cares, the Lord identifies with those feelings.

Lonely often refers to someone who lacks companionship or a connectedness to others. It may include feelings of sadness or unhappiness. How we choose to respond at such times can intensify our feelings. Often our natural inclination is to pull back, hoping someone will reach out to us. What if we reversed the process? What if we reached out to others instead of waiting for them to come to us?

If loneliness is caused by being disconnected, or solitary, how can we reestablish those essential connections? How can we move from “lonely in the crowd” to sustaining relationships? Many see social media as the answer, but it really isn’t. We may have 500 “friends” online, but we can end up lonelier than before. We need real contact, one-on-one encounters, in life.

Relationships Connect Us

Our most important relationship must be with God. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NKJV). This means devoting time to Him. That’s how relationships grow stronger and deeper. (Also read Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 41:13.) Our relationship with Him leads to another area of connectedness: our place in the body of Christ. If the body is functioning in a healthy manner, we will be there for each other. Ephesians 4:16 expresses it like this:

“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (New Living Translation).

When feelings of loneliness wash over us, God promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He’s there for you—all the time. He has also provided a body of believers to love and encourage each other. We are never alone.

Prayer: Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness to me. When I feel lonely, it helps me to remember You experienced the same emotions I now have. You understand what it means to feel forsaken and alone. Yet You promised to always be there for me, and I hold onto that promise. I can never be truly lonely because You are always with me.