Thursday, August 17, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: When Pondering Leads to Challenging the Body of Christ


I haven't always understood the body of Christ. My understanding has been a slow dawning of enlightenment that started some years ago. As people have ministered to me since I've been taking care of Sam, I've seen in action what was once just a concept. It's literally incredible.

If we're a disciple of Jesus, a "little Christ" kind of believer, we're a part of the "body of Christ." 

You and me. Together.

One of the things for which Jesus prayed in the Garden before His crucifixion was for unity. Oneness. He was praying for the body of Christ to actually function as He intended.

When we become a disciple, we become a part of the body of Christ. I'm not taking about the First Corner Church of Tupelo or the Holy Church of Texas. We're part of the bride of Christ, the worldwide church, regardless of denomination. 

We're related as brothers and sisters in Christ, but we're also one giant body that's supposed to function together. 

It's a mind-blowing concept: all believers, all around the world, working together as one. United in purpose. No division. Everyone having the same care for everyone else. We're not to love only our unbelieving neighbor as ourself. We're to treat all Christians everywhere as we want to be treated.

Ponder that for a moment and consider how it would change things if we functioned as Christ intended. What if the world looked on us and saw us doing what Jesus said we'd do?

It would be earth shattering. World changing.

Paul wrote stunning words. "If one member suffers, all suffer. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." 

If one member suffers, all suffer. 

What happens then? If one member is suffering and that causes me to suffer, I should want relief for us both, and take action. That's the idea here. I might not personally be able to take the action for someone in the heart of Africa, but there are ALWAYS things I can do.

1) Pray.
2) Encourage with emails and snail mail.
3) Reach out to my connections who might be able to help.
4) Give if money is needed.
5) Go if you have the resources to be the hands and feet of Christ. If you can't go, help someone who can.
6) Pray without ceasing.

If you've been following this blog, you know how the body of Christ has ministered to me. It's amazing, isn't it? The body of Christ has done what the body of Christ is intended to do. They've borne burdens. Carried the load. Encouraged. Helped. Been present.

So, body of Christ, now that we've seen it in action and understand how it looks, it's time for us to participate in the same manner. 

Sound scary? Like way too much work? It's not.

If everyone in the body of Christ actually did their small part, we'd be a stunning organism of amazing effectiveness and unity and love. The world would be astonished and want what we have, because we'd have the kind of community the world has rarely seen. 

They'd want Jesus.

How do I know? Because that's what Jesus prayed and what He said. He made a plan He knew would work IF we did what He said to do.

Do you like the way that sounds? It's not my plan. This is Jesus' plan.

How do we do it? Simple. Today, let's ask our Lord to show us one thing we can do to help someone in the body of Christ who's suffering. (We'll probably talk about rejoicing with someone who's rejoicing later.) Once we've recognized the need and something we can do, let's do it. 

Take the first step, even if what you do is simply schedule a time to help, even if it's for no more than an hour. The knowledge that help is coming may be the biggest encouragement some people have all week long. 

Do it.

Then, when you're done, do it again. Make caring for the body of Christ a lifestyle, and recruit other members to help you. Before you know it, the world will stand in awe at the love flowing in and through you. 

I believe Christ faced the cross that grim night, envisioned how we would treat one another, and took heart at the picture of His love we would paint for the world. It's not just a good thing to do, it's what we're called to do. 

Love one another with word and deed.

What does that look like for a caregiver who can't leave her house? Today, in the midst of taking care of Sam, I'm baking a gluten-free cake for someone. I've edited a journal article for a professor in the Middle East. I've prayed, encouraged, connected, prayed some more. I've listened to people who're going through tough times, prayed big for them, prayed with them. I've written notes and emails. Grieved with those who've grieved. Rejoiced with those who rejoiced.

Has outreach stopped because I'm temporarily homebound? Of course not. If I can reach out to the body of Christ, you can, too.

What one thing can you do today? Body of Christ, let's act like who (and Whose) we are!

"...so that there be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Caregiver Chronicles: The Gift of a Day Out

If this is your first time to read about the Sam adventures and the Caregiver Chronicles, you might want to read this post to see how it started: When the Time to Move Finally Comes

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Middle East, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line
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