You go on a much anticipated camping trip with a number of people from your family. When you get to the campsite, you need to gather fire wood – set up tents – unload coolers, cots, lawnchairs, card tables, food and all the other things needed to make this trip great.
You’ve all agreed to grill steaks that first night out. You’ve got a great bed of coals from a hot fire. The steaks are cooking while all the other food is being set out. Ice is put in cups – iced tea is being poured. The smell of those steaks has your taste buds watering in anticipation.
While all these things are going on, you notice one family member on the trip hasn’t done a thing. It’s not that they’re physically or emotionally unable to help – they just haven’t. They didn’t unload anything except the lawn chair they parked themselves in the minute you got there. They didn’t collect firewood, help set up camp or prepare any of the food. Yet, when it comes time to eat – they shove their way to the front of the pack and grab the biggest steak on the platter – and then fill their plate with all the others goodies in the spread that’s been prepared. They grab and iced tea and head for their primo lawn chair again.
They finish their meal – throw away their trash – and park themselves in the lawn chair again. They sit back with another glass of iced-tea, eyes slightly closed, humming to themselves while everyone else cleans up the camp and puts away the left-over food.
Now – can you picture how you’d feel? What you’d be thinking? What you might say?
Maybe you take a moment to engage them in polite conversation with the idea of asking why they didn’t help with anything. When you get around to asking the question – they reply that they’re just not gifted to do any of those things. Can you picture how you’d feel now – what you’d be thinking – what you might say?
I know this is a pretty silly story, but I’ve seen things work like this in families, businesses and yes – even the church; people who want to consume, but not contribute.
If you’re a follower of Christ – you’re a part of His body the Church, and you should be actively involved in a local affiliation of His body – a local church. As a part of the church – you’re a part of the family of God. And in God’s family there are responsibilities just like there are in any other family. We each need to do our part for the health and balance of the body. When you don’t do your part, the whole body suffers and the other parts have to make up for what’s lacking because of you.
If you claim to be a Christ-follower – you need to follow Christ. Jesus said He came to serve; that’s simple and not hard to understand. If our example – the “Lord” of our life – the One we say we follow came to “serve” —- shouldn’t we? So, the obvious question is: “Are you serving?” And if not – why not? If you’re not serving are you really following?
1 John 3:16 says: ” This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves.” There’s a principle in this passage that ought to encourage us to serve. The deepest level of fellowship is sacrificing for one another which is just another way of saying “serving one another.”