In a small Texas town there was a little old lady, Dorothy, who went to the post office every week to buy two stamps. One day, as she got to the counter, the postal worker said, “Dorothy, you know, you don’t have to wait in line to buy stamps. You can get them from the machine over there in books of twenty.”
Dorothy smiled sweetly and responded, “Yes, but the machine doesn’t ask about my arthritis.”
Dorothy’s story reminds us that people need and desire connection with others.
Our word of the week is “belong.”
Author of the Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, is fond of saying, “You are not just called to believe, but to belong.” He writes, We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family.”
Belonging is a Biblical concept. It is taught through out the letters of the New Testament to both churches and individuals. Consider these exhortations to the church at Rome.
“And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 1:6 NIV)
“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (Rom. 7:4,ESV)
“So we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another” (Rom. 12:5, NET).
These passages teach us 3 important things about how and what it means to belong.
(1) We belong in Christ.
The expression “in Christ” is used 87 times in the New Testament. We were “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:26). We enjoy spiritual blessings “in Christ” Eph 1:3). And our hope is “in Christ” (1 Cor 15:19).
Christianity is all about our relationship with Christ. It is fundamental to our spiritual well being. It is personal with each of us. And it provides for us a sense of security, safety and solace. It’s about the need to belong to someone who will always be faithful and care for us.
(2) We belong in one Body.
The Bible teaches that Christians are “called into one body” (Col. 3:15). Our calling is by the gospel of Christ (2 Thess 2:14). And the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Our entry into the body is through baptism into Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:26-27).
Indeed the church is not a building, but a body of Believers. People called out of darkness into the light. The church is not an organization like a business or a club, but a living, breathing organism.
(3) We belong to one another.
There are many one another commands in the New Testament. We are to accept one another. Care for one another. Be a blessing to one another. Confess our sins to one another. Serve one another. Be devoted to one another. Bear One another’s burdens. Comfort one another. And forgive one another.
On the negative side we are warned not to bite and devour one another. All of the one another exhortations can be summed in one word—love. Because we belong to another in the same body. The same family. The same blood bought relationship with Christ. We love one another.
A proper functioning church family will have many members contributing to its success in different ways based on each person’s gifts. It takes time, talent, energy and even money to achieve spiritual success. May we walk and model the one another way. May we in all our work, relationships and responsibilities seek to “edify one another” and “encourage one another,” as we enjoy “fellowship with one another.”
Today, this week, this month, think about where you belong. And then allow your belonging to translate into a mutual satisfying and fulfilling spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and all others in His Body.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman