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the body

June 2, 2008

“I AM.”

Sometimes I forget that’s God speaking, not me.

I remember hearing or reading a story recently about a young Asian athlete. This girl messed up at – I believe – an Olympic competition. Through her tears immediately afterward, she could be heard to lament not for her own loss or pain, but for the embarrassment and the disappointment she brought to her family and her country.

It’s vague, I know, but the moral I perceived stuck with me.

Americans are very individualistic people. Anyone can see why; individualism sells more stuff. When you, personally, are supposed to be the most beautiful, the most affluent, the smartest, the most desired, etc. it doesn’t matter if your best friend has one you can borrow or use – you need one for yourself. Whatever it is. Individualism, ego, and pride sell stuff.

I wonder sometimes how much of that mentality has corrupted the Church in America. I think it’s worse than we initially nod our heads at. I think we’re so used to it that we think it’s normal, and we don’t always realize how self-focused we really are. I think that’s why that story struck me, because that would not have been the source of my despair.

Yes, I know that God knew me before the foundations of the world. I know that He numbers the hairs on my head, and is familiar with every tear I’ve ever cried. I know. And it’s important to know, and to teach, that God knows us personally and loves us personally.

Sometimes, though … I wonder if we know it too much.

What about the body of Christ? What about the disciples not knowing want because each gave what he had to the Church, and the Church gave to each what he needed? What about bearing one another’s burdens? I don’t think that applies only to prayer.

Sometimes I wonder if we become so focused on our ministries, our callings, our anointings, and what God is doing in and through us as individuals that we don’t see ourselves as part of the body. We know we are, but do we really believe it?

Do we wonder how our driving habits impact our neighbors’ impressions of the Church? Do we wonder how we could serve our local church more? When we have a little extra money, do we indulge ourselves or do we ask God who to give it to?

Do we see ourselves as the body of Christ first and individuals second, or vise versa? Because isn’t that servanthood? Isn’t that being a “slave of all?” Putting everyone – even if it’s “everyone” collectively – before self?

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