Qualities of the Contributing Member
And let ours
also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they
be not unfruitful. Titus 3:14
John F. Kennedys challenge
Ask not what your country can do for
you, but what you can do for your country - appealed
to our sense that it is noble to try to make a worthy contribution
to the world we live in. In many areas of human endeavor, people
are highly motivated by the desire to make a contribution.
It ought to be so in the Lords work!
Congregations are blessed when they
have even a handful of contributors - members who are
willing to give themselves tirelessly in order to be useful in whatever
way they can, to add something worthwhile (however small)
to the greatest undertaking in history, the Lords work. What
are some of the characteristics of those who contribute to the work?
In the Lords work, much depends
on whether we do what we do because we like doing it or because
we view it as a duty it is the difference between want to
and have to. Is the spiritual life what really turns us on?
Is the Lord our first love? (Cf. Revelation 2:4)
If we are not as interested as we ought
to be in the Lord and His work, the basic reason is probably that
we just do not believe it is all that important. What outward indicators
are there of our interest?
The truly significant contributions
among the Lords people are made by those who have more than
a passing interest in His work - those who are really attracted
to it and fascinated by it - those who are truly concerned about
The word member (which
basically means a constituent part of a whole) can be used more
than one way. One meaning is a person who belongs to a group
or organization - we sometimes speak of being a member
of the Lords church in this sense, as if membership meant
nothing more than having ones name on the roll of the organization.
But in the New Testament, membership
is membership in the Lords body. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:12;
12:13-27) The members of a body are functional parts that serve
some useful purpose and have some work to do in the body. Membership
in the Lords body is an active thing, rather than passive.
Not only are we members of Christ, we are individually members
of one another. (Romans 12:3-5; cf. Ephesians 4:25)
Modern life militates against significant
involvements - in nearly everything, we strive to keep our
options open. In the Lords work, we avoid serious commitments
and obligations. We do not want to be tied down. We
do not see ourselves as attached, connected, etc. We think of the
primary responsibilities as belonging to others - and we end up
being peripheral members. But we make our proper contribution
to the Lords work when our individual work is properly involved
with the work of others in the body as a whole. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
If we get properly involved, we will
make a difference for good!
Sometimes it cannot be said that we
do what we do in the Lords work with much intensity or zeal.
Our heart is simply not in it. Sometimes we are not even as intense
about the Lords work as the Pharisees were about their own.
(Cf. Matthew 23:15) Does the word passionate describe
our level of enthusiasm and fervor?
It is possible to expend great energy
(interest) and not accomplish much because the energy is not sharply
focused (intensity). Diffused energy does not accomplish much useful
work. Do we focus like a laser beam on what we are doing
spiritually? The pure in heart (Matthew 5:8) have eliminated
general concerns about many things in order to focus intensely on
one thing. (Philippians 3:13; cf. Luke 10:41-42)
Tepid, lukewarm intensity is not pleasing
to the Lord. (Cf. Revelation 3:15-16) Solomon advised: Whatever
your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work
or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
It takes inner growth to make a worthwhile contribution. (2 Peter
The Lord wants profitable
servants. (Matthew 25:30; cf. 2 Timothy 4:11) Paul said, I
will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls. (2 Corinthians
When we are gone, how will the world
be different for our having been here? What contribution will we
have made? Do we have the spiritual qualities that will allow us
to make a contribution?
Are you a contributing member?