God wants children who love Him above all else, children who obey Him completely, children who walk with Him—following His lead instead of choosing their own paths and expecting Him to bless them anyway—children who not only know Jesus as Savior, but also as Lord.
God wants children who understand the truth of the words spoken to King Saul, that obedience is better than sacrifice, that He will not condone us doing things our way even if our way does look good in man’s eyes and seems to result in great things for the church.
God wants children who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, the One who did and said, and only did and said, what the Father wanted, who obeyed all the way to the cross and beyond when His Father called.
God wants children who don’t say, “I have decided I want to…,” but say instead, “I have decided to do what God wants me to do.”
sons and daughters
who understand what it means to be CALLED.
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
Yes, He does!
The notes in my study Bible point out that the one being used for noble purposes has no right to consider himself any better than the one being used for common purposes, because both are made from the same lump of clay. I see it the other way, too. I, who am made for common use, have no right to consider myself less than he who is made for noble use. Truly, this is something God has spoken to me many times through the years – which means, of course, that I need to be reminded.
I’ve seen people who were made for noble use, and being used nobly, thought themselves even better than the use to which they were put. So many years spent active in the music ministry gave me more occasion than most to see how ego affects the clay; I’ve seen people actually leave a church because they felt their talents weren’t being shown off as much as they should be. This type of thing makes me ill.
It is in the nature of man to exalt himself. I know this, because I deal with the tendency on a personal level much too often. I look at other people doing certain things and think, “I could be doing that; I’m good enough! Why can’t I be allowed to do it just once so that I can show the world I’m able?” Wrong motivation!
It took a lot of years for me to accept the fact that I was made for common use…and to prefer the fact that I am. When ego is set aside and the truth is out, it becomes apparent that I wouldn’t want to be a vase sitting on a shelf, only rarely filled with flowers and placed at the center of the table. I would rather be the tea pitcher, always on the table, at the center of things, appreciated on a daily basis…almost taken for granted even…by the whole family. In my own mind, before coming to this Scripture, I have compared myself to a ball bearing – something no one sees, but that is essential to keep the mechanism running smoothly. How much better would it be if we all would simply accept ourselves as God has made us, accept our positions as He has placed us, and be what He has called us to be today – freely and fully – without trying to see how we might use today’s position as a stepping stone to the future, without regret or recrimination? Oh, what we could accomplish in this world!
Under his direction, the whole body is fitted 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.
Under his direction
These first three words are the key. We must submit to Him as part of His body, completely under His direction. If we won’t be under HIS direction, totally submitted to HIM, why do we call ourselves Christians? To be called a Christian is to be called Christ Like, and Jesus Christ was so completely submitted to His heavenly father that He willingly took the unimaginably horrendous path to the cross.
So, as we are under His direction…
the whole body
The whole body, every part of it, is “fitted together perfectly.”
is fitted together
This phrase is in the passive voice, which shows that it isn’t the body that is doing the fitting together. The “fitting together” is being done to the body by God. (I Corinthians 12:18, KJV But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.)
When we are under His direction, allowing Him to fit us together—letting Him put us where He wants us instead of insisting on putting ourselves where we want to be—we will be fitted together perfectly.
as each part does
Every part of the body has work to do. If a part of the human body refuses to work, the whole body suffers. The same is true of Christ’s body. We are not just here to be. We are here to do. (Ephesians 2:10, KJV, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.)
its own special work
God gives each of us work to do and we can either do that work or not do it. If we choose to do our work, we are free to choose whether to do it well or poorly. If we choose not to do our work, we are free to choose whether to do nothing or to do someone else’s work instead.
We’ve a world of choices and only one is acceptable—to do that special work that God has set aside specifically for us. To do anything else is to fail Him, the body, and ourselves.
This even holds true when we decide to do ‘extra’ work. While being faithful to our own special work, we might still have enough time that we choose to go help another part of the body as well. This can be a wonderful thing, but if we move against His direction, stepping out on our own accord, the whole body will suffer.
This is not to say a man cannot be active in more than one ministry. If God directs him to serve in multiple areas, God will also orchestrate his service. If, however, he chooses to serve in multiple ministries against God’s direction, he is asking for trouble to visit not only him, but every ministry he touches.
We each have our own special work to do and He expects us to do it and do it with excellence!
it helps the other parts grow
What a gift! Can anything greater be said of a man than that he helps others grow? No. Here is a promise, a result, worth working toward!
And, to consider this from the other side, if this member of Christ’s body chooses not to be under His direction, not to fit in his assigned spot perfectly, not to do the special work God has assigned specifically to him, then he will inevitably hinder the other parts in their growth.
How much better it is to do what we know to do and do it in the way God intends!
so that the whole body is healthy
This is one third of what should be our goal, and is God’s goal, for the body of Christ—that we as the body be healthy and growing and full of love.
Unfortunately, though many individual churches are healthy, this cannot be said of the church as a whole, at least not here in the United States. Many churches have experienced splits and too often church members are not surprised when they learn of other members’ immorality. One can also find church buildings for sale in this nation that are available for purchase not because the churches have grown too large for them, but rather because they’ve died.
Obviously, if the church as a whole is not healthy, it is also not growing. I was somewhat surprised at one point, though I wasn’t too very shocked, to hear my pastor say in a sermon that the church in the U.S. has not grown since the 1970s. If this is true, something is obviously wrong.
and full of love
This, perhaps, is the saddest thing of all. God is love; you would think that His church would necessarily be full of love, but in how many churches will you find no gossip, no murmuring, no backbiting, no complaining… If a church is truly full of love, there is no room for these things.
So we, the body, fail the test. We are not fitted together perfectly, with each part doing its own special work. Why?
Because too many of us have never learned the difference between being a volunteer and being a called out, chosen one—the difference between one who casually offers, “I’ll do it,” knowing he has the option of quitting later, and the one who answers the call of his Lord, fully prepared to do anything and everything he is told to do. If the church is to be healthy, to grow and to be full of love, we as individuals must grow up first, moving beyond “I’m only a volunteer!” and into “I am a called out child of God who will fulfill my destiny!”