Do We Know Each Other?
As a congregation grows, it is faced with a surprising challenge to unity: lack of familiarity. When we come together for worship and see new faces, our first reaction may be to seek out people we know. We desire the comfort that comes with knowing a person’s name, interests, background, etc. But how can we have unity if we do not even know each other? Fortunately, the Bible has some solutions to offer in Romans 12:3-16. If we want to foster a more meaningful relationship with each other, we must:
Never think more highly of ourselves than we should (v. 3). The moment I think I am too good for that church member who is different than me, I have lost sight of what it means to live for Christ;
Realize that each of us has a unique function (v. 4). Do not judge another church member because his skill set is different;
Realize that we are not just members of Christ, but of each other (v. 5);
Exercise our gifts freely (v. 6). I think part of why some churches lack meaningful fellowship is because there are members too afraid to contribute anything:
Recognize what others are doing (vv. 6-8). Get excited about the service that another Christian does. Ask questions and find out who is contributing where;
“Let love be without hypocrisy” (v. 9);
Express a preferential treatment for other church members (v. 10), but always in an honorable way. When a church member has a need, drop everything and help (some of the best ways to get to know people is by helping them move, build a fence, tune up a car, etc.);
Recognize that our bond is more special than anything humanity offers (v. 11-12). We are not like a Boy Scout troop, a Weight Watchers meeting, or an athletic club;
Show hospitality (v. 13). A church member whose home is always closed will likely never understand why making friends at church is so difficult;
Be willing to adapt our mood to fit the ups and downs of our brethren (v. 15). During the celebratory times, we rejoice with them. When the occasion is somber, we share a few tears;
Be willing to associate with those may otherwise be deemed “lowly” (v. 16). A congregation is going to be made up of very different people (poor and rich, healthy and sick, educated and uneducated). If I am too haughty to associate with those who are different, my presence will always be a divisive one.