A year or two ago, a friend and I got our heads together and thought that it would be fun to have a Christmas tea and cookie party where each guest brought their favorite cookies and their favorite tea. We made a guest list, but it was December, and no one on the list was going to be able to make it. It's a busy time and plans were already in motion. This year, that friend of mine has cancer. We had a huge surprise birthday party for her. Everyone came. As well they should. And they would come if we had a tea this year too.
But I wonder about something. The Body ought to respond to a member that is wounded. It doesn't always, and that is a terrible thing. If a finger gets cut, someone needs to get stitches and a bandage and take care of it without delay. Some local bodies of believers are terrible at even first aid. I'm grateful to be part of one that takes care of these things. But, individually, as members of this body, are we often only aware of acute needs. I know that I have a natural inclination to gravitate toward people in need, but sometimes neglect them when things regain a more even keel. And I believe that I, and other members like me, may be doing a great disservice to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We care for fingers that cut and bleed, but don't notice them drying and cracking for lack of moisturizer. We don't notice the high cholesterol until the heart attack. We overlook the person, until the cancer.
I Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ...14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. ...18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And 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.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
We are to use our gifts to encourage the Body:
Ephesians 4: 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Sometimes we're too busy until we're confronted with an emergency. The more excellent way ? Selfless love.
I John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.... 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
So who, in your local body, do you need to make time for this Christmas?