It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teacher to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Paul, discussing unity and maturity as goals of the church, describes Jesus Christ as the Head who holds the body (joined by supporting ligaments) together. The body of Christ must grow, building one another up as they work together. The body of Christ must be determined to work together to accomplish the common goal of building God’s kingdom. As Nehemiah gathered the people together, he knew that although he was the leader, he was dependent on God to give him direction. As he motivated the people of Jerusalem to action, he reminded them that the “gracious hand of God” was upon him. (Neh 2:18) He trusted God to lead them, but he knew that it would take the faith of the people, plus determination and hard work, to rebuild the wall. James describes faith in action: In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 3:17) As the body of Christ, we must be determined to work hard demonstrating our faith in God and be determined to follow the call of God. The people of Jerusalem knew that the Lord had sent Nehemiah and the supplies they needed to build the wall.
Now it was time to put their faith to action.
Are you connected to a body of believers? God ordained believers to work together, encouraging one another to use our gifts for His glory. For years I did not realize the value of being joined with the body and the support that is offered through this connection to other believers. I remember praying as a team for someone when I came to understand the importance of the “supporting ligaments.” My team partner could minister to this individual from her own experiences, and I marveled at how the Lord worked through her. I was able to fill in the gaps with the gifts that the Lord had given me.
I knew that day that God had a purpose in sending out the disciples “two by two.” Determination and hard work are needed to fulfill our calling, but without working with others as part of the body of Christ, it is easy to burn out. All of us are called to prepare God’s people for “works of service,” and in so doing, we will all reach the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Help me to know my place in the body of Christ and to use my gifts for Your glory. Thank you that You never intended for me to work alone. Help me to be a supporting “ligament” to build up the body of Christ.
In Jesus’ name, Amen