Isaiah 41:6-7 (NASB)
6Each one helps his neighbor
And says to his brother, "Be strong!"
7So the craftsman encourages the smelter,
And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil,
Saying of the soldering, "It is good";
And he fastens it with nails,
So that it will not totter.
In this case the context of what Isaiah is saying may be important but the verse stands on its own as a powerful exhortation to us who seek to understand God’s design for the body of Christ. You see we often do not get how it all is supposed to work in the body of Christ. First in our walk we begin to discover our individual strengths and design, and the character of our creator. This is so uplifting we begin to use ourselves and our strengths as a gift to Him who created us. But then something happens, we recognize that by itself my gift has potential, but is really not all that powerful. When we use our gift alone, maybe one other person is affected, and God smiles because we are willing servants. But there is power when we join our gifts and strengths with others. We start to see our gift when encouraged and combined with the gifts of another, have a powerful ability to impact His Kingdom, and edify and build the body of Christ, in a way that on our own could never be done. Here in the scripture Isaiah speaks of a neighbor who encourages his brother “Be strong!” and one after another each plays a different role, encouraging and strengthening one other until the task is completed. I have recently come to experience this myself in the Church, where three dear friends with different strengths and gifts, combined to encourage one another, but operate in their strengths. One dear friend, whose observation and insight into the body of Christ is able to identify, reveal, and expose sickness in the body, another who is able to rally troops, organize and plan to send opposition to this sickness, and another whose heart is the motive force and spirit of healing behind this fantastic team that the body has assembled.
The application for me is a bit uncomfortable at times but life changing. Uncomfortable in the fact that I can’t do all the functions of the body on my own. While I can grow in the understanding of the other functions, and encourage others to strengthen their god given abilities and use them for the body, I will never “stand in” for that person in the body of Christ. We are truly the body when all parts are functioning according to their purpose, and my desiring to be an eye, when I am an really an ear doesn’t help the body. The life changing part comes when you can truly embrace the fact that your role may be small but it is not insignificant. That significance doesn’t come by doing all the functions of the body yourself. Significance comes when you catch the heart of the scripture which is to embrace your gift, but encourage your neighbor in theirs. This relieves so much of the burden of having to be all things to all people, and now allows us the peace of operating inside the body as a team of beautifully designed pieces.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your revelation in your word today. I pray that you help this transformative message change my heart and mind, to operate and embrace my function in your body Lord. I pray that I would be an encourager, of those around me , to help them embrace their function, and encourage their neighbor, so that your glory in the body of Christ would be revealed to the world.