By Brooke Holt
“If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” - 1 Corinthians 12:19-26
Many, many years ago, as my husband and I began the work of ministry together in the church, we encountered a servant of the Lord whom we will never forget. We were young, ambitious, and very excited to serve the church and God’s people. Like every young and ambitious person, we had our plans and ideas for how God moved and worked. Little did we know that we would learn the greatest lessons in ministry through the janitor at our large and thriving Episcopal church.
That precious man’s name was Jose. Every day, Jose busily worked at the church. He was quiet yet always kind. You could often find Jose whistling softly or humming a tune. He seemed like the ideal janitor—content and hard-working, faithful and dependable. Little did we know that Jose was much more than a janitor at our church. After his day job, Jose went about a different kind of ministry, the ministry of planting churches. Jose had not been to seminary or had any formal theological training, yet he was committed to making disciples of Jesus Christ. Jose told us how he built churches. He would hang out, look for broken people, share the Gospel with them and then with their friends. They would begin meeting regularly in a home, and the message would quickly spread of this emerging church. Before he knew it, Jose said there were twenty, then fifty, then a hundred. At that point, Jose would find a new leader for this new church, and he would begin again.
My husband asked how many times Jose had done this, and he began counting and counting and counting. Jose had started over fifty churches at that point! A simple man with a simple faith had converted thousands of people and planted over fifty churches. While Jose may not have been honored or seen in his janitorial work, he was greatly honored by those whom he served and more importantly by his heavenly Father. There is no division in the body, no greater work or service or gifts. There is only the call to love one another, to share the good news of Jesus Christ, to suffer with those who are suffering and rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
How are you inspired by this story of Jose, and how are you challenged by this story of Jose? The Lord longs to break through our designations in the body of Christ. How might he want to work on your attitude and judgments? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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