This rock wall in my neighborhood is a lovely way to keep the dirt built up on one side, but out of the road on the other. It’s constructed from rocks of many shapes and sizes, all placed just so to accomplish the same goal. It looks like such a puzzle to me. I don’t understand how someone can put all of those rocks together in such a random way, and end up with a straight line on top!
If you could see yourself as one of these stones, which one would you pick? Since I love the wonder of God’s creation, I’d probably pick one of the rocks near the top–closer to the shrub growing over the edge!
Now to play with words a little bit and find our bearings within the body of Christ. “Bearing” can have many different meanings, but we’ll just look at a few of them.
1. A person’s posture, way of standing or moving
Each of the rocks in this wall has something about it, whether big or small, round or lumpy, smooth or jagged, which makes it perfect for the spot that it’s in. You know people who carry themselves into a room in such a way that makes everyone stand a little straighter, or others who enter with a ray of sunshine and brighten everyone’s outlook. They just have a way about them!
When you are with your local family of believers, how does your bearing affect the atmosphere? This question isn’t so much about your physical posture as your spiritual one. Do you stand straight and tall, confident in what Christ has done for you? Are you lighthearted because of the joy God has planted deeply in your heart?
What benefits do you bring? Wisdom? Encouragement? Joy? Hope? Love? God created you with something to offer. Don’t be shy, we need you! “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ…All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27 NLT)
2. Behavior or conduct
Some people just seem to know all the right things to do and say. They carry themselves with an air of confidence because they know who they are. They don’t feel the need to fight for their place, because they’re already in it! There’s no tearing others down, rude comments, or malicious gossip. They live out Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
Every rock in that wall has a place, and is needed there. God has gifted you, but not for your benefit. He has gifted you to a body of believers, for the benefit of that body. You are a gift to them! Are you acting on that truth by serving in your local church? If not, where could you step up and be a blessing? If you already know your “place” and are serving others in some aspect of ministry, own it! Take responsibility for it, and serve with excellence. “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7)
3. The part of a machine that bears friction
Okay, I can’t make this one work with my rock wall example, but it’s worth mentioning! Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) There’s no need to work for peace when everyone’s getting along swimmingly. It’s when tempers flare and feelings get hurt that the peacemakers are needed. Peacemakers can be bearings, helping smooth friction that arises at times in relationships. Are you willing to get uncomfortable for the benefit of the body of Christ?
4. Awareness to position relative to surroundings
Where are you, exactly? What is going on in your life right now? What is going on in your community? What has God created you to do, and created for you to do? “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10) There is a reason you are where you are, right now. Do you know what that reason is? If you’re floundering, I know Someone who can help you figure that out! Spend some time asking God for guidance, and then take some time to listen. Once He speaks, ask for confirmation from a trusted brother or sister in Christ. When you know where He is leading you to serve, it’s time to trust and obey!
“You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” (1 Peter 2:5) Have you found your bearings?
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