The term Body of Christ has become synonymous with the church, but we do not always fully understand why the Lord has determined the church to be the body of Christ. Jesus body grew to maturity, starting his public ministry, healed, taught, rebuked. He was adored as the Messiah riding on the foal of a donkey into Jerusalem. He was betrayed, flogged, tortured, humiliated, and finally crucified. Then, His body rose from the grave, coming back to life completely healed. His body ascended into the Heavens and is now seated at the right hand of God on the Throne in Heaven. This is what His body has done and experienced and the Lord has declared us to be His body.
Jesus’ physical body in Scripture is to be modeled by the Church in every way. The writers of the New Testament understood this acutely and wrote about it often. But one thing that Jesus said had to do with the food that His body needed. His answer transcends His physical body and moved into the space of the universal Church of Jesus Christ forevermore. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
The Bible says that Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). The joy spoken of here was Jesus’ knowledge that only by the crucifixion could a way be made for the children He loved to escape the power of sin and death to be with Him eternally. He found joy in the sacrifice because He knew the implications. He was strengthened and empowered by this thought to withstand and endure all that happened to Him. His food, His nourishment, His sustenance was found in doing the will of the Father and finishing the work He had been given by the Father. Without finishing the work, He would have starved. His spirit would have died had He given up on the work the Lord had presented Him with.
The Body of Christ in many ways has got it all backward. We look for preachers and worship leaders who will feed us, strengthen our spirit, give sustenance to our soul. We want to be ‘fed’ we say. We will leave one manifestation of the body of Christ and go to another to be ‘fed.’ And certainly, we know that we need to be taught and we need to find a place where we can learn and grow spiritually. But knowledge of the Word and the beautiful connection with the Holy Spirit in worship is but the appetizer. It simply whets our appetite for the main course, the possibilities of God in our life when we do the work He has given us. The Church is anemic today because so many of us have passed on the main course. We are weak, underdeveloped, and malnutritioned. This is why we are tossed back and forth by the wiles of the devil. Our strength is gone. Well, I say Church…it’s time for the main course.
It is time to do the work of the Father. It is time to finish the work. It is good to hear a good sermon under a dynamic preacher. It is good to lose ourselves in worship as we sing about our “Good, Good Father.” But this is the chips and salsa (That’s what we do in Texas!!). These are not the main course. The main course is doing the good works that God has prepared for each of us to do. There are people who need to hear the Gospel message right at work. There are neighbors who need prayer. There are homeless who need food. There are the lonely who need to laugh. There are the forgotten who need to be remembered. People walking into church need a good smile, maybe a hug as well. Children need to be taught. Teens need to be loved. The babies need to be rocked. There are so many places and ways that we can do the work the Lord has given us to do. We must finish the work. Imagine how built up and strong we would be if we would see service as the main course that gives us the most vitamins, minerals, protein, and carbs for our souls to grow strong.
Jesus was a carpenter. They worked with very heavy woods without all of the machinery we have now. Carpenters were in good shape, muscular. It is time for the Church to get healthy, to get strong, to get in shape, to be muscle-bound, pecs pumping, guns blazing, six-pack carrying, triceps bulging ready to do the work of the Father. We can’t get in shape, get strong, get powerful, unless we eat right. Let’s stop skipping the main course. Let’s do the work of the Father. We have been anointed to preach the Gospel, to bless the forgotten, to love the destitute, to teach the students, to embrace the sinner, to do the work of the Father. Pull up to the table. It’s time to eat!
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It is great for those struggling with the circumstances in their life and why God would allow some things to happen. I wrote it from the heart after my best friend from high school shared with me his struggle to understand why God would allow Him to get cancer. I hope it is a help to all who read it. -Pastor Lee
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