Functional or Dysfunctional?

Romans 12:1-8:  1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Our daughter Bonnie took piano lessons for two years–two of the hardest years of my, I mean, her life.  While she loved the feeling of success when she conquered a particular piano piece, she simply loathed to practice.  Many times she behaved as though she were chained by her warden (aka, her mother) to the piano when asked to practice for a mere 15-20 minutes.  One afternoon, she sat and sat and sat, wasting the 20-30 minutes with much “wallering” on the piano bench.  I was busy making phone calls and prompting her every few minutes to actually begin her practice.  Finally, after much chiding from the back of the house, I called her back to me from the piano and inquired what was the root of all this.  What was so intensely brutal about actually touching the keys to practice a few songs?

After a few detours she finally confessed with much drama:  “Mom, it’s just that my hands….they…they just don’t want to play the piano.  They don’t want to be touching the keys.”  Another pause led to “they want to be touching my toys!”  I thought for a moment and shocked her with my calm and rather matter-of-fact reply.  “Bonnie, I know exactly what you are talking about.”  “You do?” she asked in amazement.  “Yes, I’m going to let you in on a secret.”  She leaned in.  “My hands do not like to fold laundry.  They don’t like to make beds, help children with their homework, clean this house.  They don’t even really love to fix meals for this family on some occasions.  You know what they would rather do?”  “What?!”  “They actually love to hold the TV remote when I’m sitting on the couch!  But what I must require of them is what is required of me as a participating member of this family.  What happens if I don’t do my part in this family?  Someone else has to take up the slack.  You don’t have clean clothes to wear.  You’re left to find something to eat.  Daddy has to do his job AND take care of what I’m responsible for.  It’s a part of the responsibility that comes with the blessing of having a family and having gifts that God wants me to use for His glory.”

As bowled over as my then 7-year-old daughter was by my confession that I don’t love laundry, many believers can react in kind when they discover that they have some responsibilities as part of the family of God.  And as in the natural family, as each member matures, their measure of responsibility increases.  I don’t expect my 4-year-old to perform tasks on the same level as my 9-year-old.  But the younger is still responsible for the tasks she is capable of accomplishing.  When everyone takes care of their own responsibilities, the family functions with ease and increases in joy!  What is your responsibility in the family of God where you are planted?  Are you the taker in the family, always expecting everyone else to carry you?  Do you constantly require chiding to finish with excellence?  Or are you determined to be a fully-functioning member of the Body?

As the apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, I encourage you to discover the gifts God has given to you, and use them…”with cheerfulness”.  Let us present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.  This is our reasonable service.

Yours for Souls,

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  1. Casey Graves on January 29, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    That is good stuff! Everybody doing their part (and sometimes it feels like doing laundry!!) it’s hard work but pays off!

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