It has been a great joy in recent weeks to receive a number of people into church membership. God willing there will be more added later in the year. It reminds us of the significance of the local church in the purposes of God. While all believers from every age and in every place belong to the invisible and universal church, we are called to commit ourselves to local assemblies. Joining a church and having one’s name on the membership role is not an end in itself. It brings with it a host of privileges and responsibilities
We are to love one another (1Peter 1:22) ; We are to be patient with one another (Eph 4:2); We are to pray for one another (Eph 6:18); We are to bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2); We are to enter into one another’s joys and sorrows (Rom 14:15); We are to challenge one another (Gal 6:1); We are to stir one another up in love and good works (Heb 10:24); We are to forgive one another (Col 3:13); We are to be kind to one another (Eph 4:32). The list could go on.
John F. Kennedy famously said, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” It is not a bad ethos to bring into church life. So many people approach the church with the expectation of having their needs met. In one sense that is not necessarily wrong. If we belong to a healthy church, legitimate and realistic needs will be met. On the other hand this kind of thinking most often is lazy and selfish. We ought to have an outlook which embraces the attitude of a servant. I am here for the benefit of my fellow church members.
Take personal ownership of the list above – I am to love my brethren; I am to be patient with my brethren; I am to pray for my brethren, etc…………………… It is too easy for us to look at the church and see the responsibilities others have toward us, rather than the responsibilities we have toward them.
Let us function as the Body Christ; each member doing his / her bit for the good of the whole. When that is the case everyone is richly blessed – in giving and receiving.