Having someplace to go is home
Having someone to love is family
Having both is a blessing.
My husband loves to surprise me. While I was away at a week of camp with our teenagers, he arranged for some sweet friends to paint and decorate our new home, and this saying was printed on the sign by my fireplace. It is still one of my favorites.
God’s provision for relationships began all the way back in Creation. When He created Adam without an Eve, it was the only thing He declared “not good.” We were created with a need for relationship.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
God promises to meet all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He promises never to leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He promises to be a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He has adopted all who have called upon His Son for salvation as His own sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-7). But in His infinite understanding of our need for tangible, personal relationships, He sets the solitary in families (Psalm 68:6). “…Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him.”(1 Corinthians 12:18)
Local, Bible-preaching churches are His perfect provision for our need for relationship, encouragement, and growth from others who are learning and growing along with us. He doesn’t just drop us in church families randomly, just as He didn’t put our families together accidentally. When we accept His gift of salvation, He abundantly overloads us with many more gifts. His Holy Spirit moves into our lives and works out of us the purposes for which we were created. Your gifts, and you have at least one of them, are absolutely necessary for your church family. I have heard more than once that if there is a glaringly obvious need in your church, you are more than likely the one God placed in that body for that need.
How does your spiritual gift and God-given personality build and edify your church family? How do you best bear other’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ? (Galatians 6:2) Are you prepared to both edify others and receive the gifts that others have to give? Here are just a few of them defined from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
Prophecy (Pastor): Preaching; public interpretation of Scripture; exhortation or instruction.
Teacher: An instructor; a preceptor; a tutor; one whose business or occupation is to instruct others.
Helps/ Ministry: To aid; to assist; to lend strength or means towards effecting a purpose; To assist; to succor; to lend means of deliverance.
Government/ Organization: The exercise of authority, direction, and administration.
Exhortation: The form of words intended to incite and encourage. Advice; counsel.
Generosity: To afford; to supply; to furnish; a disposition to give liberally
Mercy: Pity; compassion manifested towards a person in distress.
When a church member walks through a trial, he might receive the preaching of the truth of his situation from the Pastor or another with the gift of exhortation. Someone with the gift of mercy might notice his distress and immediately reach out with a word of compassion and prayer. The one with the gift of organization might seek to set up long term help with many people getting involved in the effort. The one with the gift of teaching might be able to break down the concepts needed to move ahead through the trial. The generous giver would look for a way to meet a financial or tangible need the person might have. The helper would look for a way to be a help long-term, as needed. This is just a simple illustration that gives an idea of how our many gifts come together to build and encourage one another.
If you’re just beginning to grow in your faith, and you haven’t gotten involved in a local church, seek the Lord for wisdom and direction. He has just the perfect place for you. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like a square peg in a round hole for a while. He will use the necessary tools to shape you and mold you to fit into the place He has for you. And your gifts will be tools that mold and shape those around you to fit together. Your church family is a good gift from a great God who truly provides for every need, including a place to belong. 💕