The Body Has Spoken

Now in giving the following instruction I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. There must, indeed, be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. Therefore, when you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s Supper. For at the meal, each one eats his own supper ahead of others. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on the church of God and embarrass those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you for this!

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said,“This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you gather together you will not come under judgment. And I will give instructions about the other matters whenever I come.
-1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Photo: Pixabay
I was in the car a few weeks ago, listening to KBRT, and I heard a remarkable story that I want to share.  I do not recall the exact details, but here it is:

There was a certain church, that was enjoying their lives together and they had a leader.  One day, that leader announced his plans or his vision for the next thing that they were going to do.  It was something like an outreach, a sister church plant, or a mission.  After he laid it out, the people had a chance to discuss it.  It was like, "What do you all think?"

The people, almost unanimously said, "No, we don't want to do that".  The leader listened.  There was a silence.  Then he opened his mouth and said these words:  "The church has spoken".

This church continued life together.  And together, with it's leader and leaders, decided what it wanted to do.

This story is remarkable because, so often this is not how our churches make decisions.  The one leader dictates or the elders or the hidden board decides.  When they do that, they kill body life and are not following the head.

Change is so difficult because the body is not recognized or a person or persons are assuming headship of Christ's body.  When people's voices are not heard, they simply leave.  We say, "They voted with their feet", because their voices were not heard.

The kingdom of God is flat. Everyone is equal, but some are more mature. All are gifted, but some have equipping gifts, to coach and nurture and help set others on the playing field of Christ's ministry.

There are no bosses in the body, only people who live in father and mother roles; and we are specifically forbidden from giving folks titles like "father". We are just people with first names. No titles.

The man that I heard about on the radio, sounded like a gifted individual, who had gathered a group of folks, who were also under his care.  He got it that he is not the head of that body, but Christ is.  He was excited about the plan he had for what they were going to do.

But when they said "no thanks", he accepted it and that was that.  Perhaps the idea he proposed was put away or on the back burner of his mind.  Perhaps later, they were ready and the consensus changed.

The beautiful thing is that, when there was opposition, in the body, he recognized or discerned it.  He (Jesus) is the head of the church, his body.  He leads his church, and we, his body, discern his leading.

In the world, they do not do it that way.  Men and women lead and the followers or employees follow or leave or are fired.  It is not supposed to be that way in the church.  

Are you leading in the world's way or Jesus' way?  In most churches that I have been familiar with, they say Jesus is Lord, but they lead their churches in a dictatorship or ruling committee of "the board" or "the elders" or "the elder board", of people.

Have you ever seen or heard the leader say, "I have decided", or "We have decided", or "The elders have decided"?  Sometimes, when a big change is coming or there is a crisis, they will have a big meeting.  The meeting will be to tell us what they have decided and we will be lucky if they allow for questions.  There is no discussion, because it has already been decided.  

Why not instead, function as a body, where all the members of the body are on the same level, with Jesus as the head?  Watch not just what you say, but what you do and how you do it, in your leadership.
"Ah, I did not recognize you, but now I do.  You are the body of Christ, of which I am also, with only Him as the head."