1 Corinthians 12:27. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
When my husband and I were missionaries, one of the big surprises to me was that I did not always like my colleagues. I had always heard about the closeness of the missionary “family.” Just like a real family or a church family, the reality was that there were some people that just rubbed me the wrong way!
God had to deal with me severely about my attitude toward some of my colleagues. Here are some of the things that the Master Teacher taught me about being a part of the body of Christ:
- You’re not as special as you think you are. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Gal. 6:3) When we enter ministry, we are often lauded by those around us. We can start believing that we are something extraordinary. Pride is sinful. God called us ordinary people to be his servants. We are nothing without Him. Being called into full-time ministry does not make us super-Christians. We still have to battle pride, jealousy, irritation and resentment.
- Do not question another’s calling. This was not my responsibility. There are situations that arise in a church or in any ministry that someone’s calling might come into question (by those who are given that responsibility). However, this was not my role, and I had to learn to trust that God had uniquely called each of my colleagues with their particular personality and gifts to his/her place of service.
- Comparison will kill your joy every time. I had to confess before the Lord that a big part of my problem was comparing myself to others. If someone else seemed more successful in evangelism, I found ways in my heart to question their methods. If someone was more fluent in the language, I was resentful. The Lord taught me to find joy in the gifts and victories of others. He taught me to turn my eyes on what he was doing in me rather than what I thought I was seeing in others. I learned that the greatest joy was seeing how God could use all His servants in different ways and at different times.
Once I happened to be in a service where one of my “difficult” colleagues was being honored by the national people. I sat in that service and watched one person after another come to the podium and give testimony as to how this missionary had led them to a relationship with Christ. I bowed my head in shame and with tears as I thought of my attitude about this person. I had to say with Job, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3) Right there, I praised God that I had had the privilege of serving with this special servant whom the Sovereign Lord had chosen to be a part of His body.