One night, I passed by the girls bedroom and overheard an interesting conversation between them. They were both arguing over the value of sisters. Kadence pleaded her case by stating, “Sisters aren’t friends, they are just related!” Without missing a beat Rylee proved her point by proclaiming “No, sisters are the best of friends that get to have sleepovers every night!”
This conversation between the two of them made me think of our relationships within the church with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe that many of us have the same attitude of just being “related” by the blood of Christ and we tend to co-exist within our church walls. We never take the time to develop deep, meaningful relationships within the body. We hide ourselves away in comfort zones; maybe the comfort zone is staying busy with small children, having family within the congregation, or friends that we have grown up with. We hide behind our ages, backgrounds, social status, and our professions. In doing this, we are missing out from the many blessings that come from unity through diversity.
In 1 Corinthians 12-13, the people of Corinth were robbing others, themselves, and God of the special talents they had because they were too afraid, conceited, or jealous to use them. In Paul’s letter, he explains three simple things for the people to live by as a way to establish meaningful and productive relationships in Christ Jesus.
He tells them to embrace their own unique talents and not to get caught up in wishing they had something else (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). We all too often compare ourselves to others and, I believe, especially in the church. We see the things others do for the Lord and we compare ourselves to one another and become jealous over the things others can do that we cannot. We are all designed to work in different areas of service and we must embrace the gift that God gave us and use it for Him.
He tells them to work together with their talents as a body to glorify the Lord and to build one another up (1 Corinthians 12:12;25-26). Those of us who are feet must make an effort to get to know the eyes and the eyes must not become jealous of the feet. We all tend to place ourselves in groups and whether intentional or not, leave others out because they are different than we are. If we do this, we will miss out on amazing opportunities in growth, service, and friendship.
The final thing Paul tells his fellow Christians to work on is the most important of them all; he tells them to bond themselves together in love. We must all work to deepen the love in our church family by using our talents out of love (1 Corinthians 13:2-3). If we love others in the way described in Corinthians, we– as a body–can have the full potential to do an immeasurable amount of good for each other, the community, and His kingdom. If we have faith to remove mountains, but have not love, we gain nothing. If we give all we have to the church and have not love, we gain nothing. If we attend all services, events, cook for the sick, visit the shut-ins, and go on mission trips and have not love, we gain nothing. It is love that bonds us together and it is love that will make this brother/sisterhood thrive.
Building on and investing in solid relationships within the church makes us all better mothers, fathers, friends, and all around better people. Friends help shape us into the people we were designed to be. We must embrace our unique abilities to build one another up. We must work together in Christ just as members of the body to glorify Him and friends, we must establish love between one another because if we have not love, we gain nothing. I challenge you all to build on new relationships and go outside of your comfort zone to get to know someone within the church who you previously thought you may not have anything in common with. The truth is, in the church, we all have something in common: a desire to serve our Savior. If we build on that simple fact, we will accomplish much.
By Ashley Hudson
Ashley Hudson is a stay-at-home-mom with three children ages 9, 5, and 3. She and her family worship at the 7th and Beech Church of Christ in Durant, Oklahoma. Her husband, Jake, is the Campus Minister for the Student Bible Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Be sure to check out her blog at www.hudson-five.wordpress.com