Church: The power of working together

“Don’t try this alone.”  –advice on a thousand exercise devices.

Years ago, the Readers Digest ran an article “What good is a tree?”

When the roots of a tree touch, a substance present reduces the competition.  An unknown fungus links together roots of different trees, even of dissimilar species.  A whole forest may be linked together.  If one tree has access to water, another to nutrients, a third to sunlight, the trees find a way to share.

We could all take a lesson from the forest.

When I was a teen, someone set out a small longleaf pine in my grandmother’s yard.  Year after year, it remained a dwarf, refusing to grow. After her death, an uncle who owned the property set out hundreds of trees across the front yard. Suddenly, that lone, dwarfed pine had company and began to prosper.

The Lord knew you and I would be needing help in living for Him in this fallen world. So, when He saved us, He “added us to the body” (see Acts 2:41).

God never intended any of us to live this life in isolation.

The writer of Hebrews admonished the early Christians: “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as  you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Scripture is not silent concerning the responsibility believers have toward each other….

“Love one another” (John 13:34–and a dozen other places).  “Pray for one another” (James 5:16).  “Wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  “Be members of one another” (Romans 12:5).  “Be devoted to one another” (Romans 12:10).  “Be of the same mind with one another” (Romans 15:5).  “Receive one another” (Romans 15:7).

Want more?

“Greet one another” (Romans 16:16).  “Admonish one another” (Romans 15:14).  “Care for one another” (I Corinthians 12:25).  “Serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).  “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2).  “Bear with one another” (Ephesians 4:2).

Still more?

“Be kind to one another” (Ephesians 4:32).  “Submit to one another” (Ephesians 5:21).  “Comfort one another” (I Thessalonians 4:18).  “Edify one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11).   “Confess to one another” (James 5:16).  “Be hospitable to one another” (I Peter 4:9).  “Fellowship with one another” (I John 1:7).

Anyone see a trend?

The Lord who saved us clearly thought we would be needing one another. He who created us thought we each bring something to the body which the other members will be needing, just as they bring what we need.

We are members of His Body, to be sure, but also members of one another (see Romans 12:5 and I Corinthians 12).

I need you; you need me.  We are part of a team, a chain, a body.

This should be a no-brainer.  But, according to the writer of Hebrews, even the early church was having trouble locating some believers who had apparently decided they didn’t need the regular association with other followers of Jesus.

“I can do this by myself,” says a head-strong but mistaken four-year-old.  That disciples of the Lord would say it is amazing.

The new teacher in the reservation’s school found a student cheating on a test.  Then, she began to notice others doing the same thing.  “What’s going on here?”  Someone explained, “In our tribe, if someone knows something, everyone knows it.”

Robert Neff visited a church service and saw something unforgettable.  “A tenor was trying to sing a solo.  Something was not right, however.  He was faltering.  I looked around to see what the commotion was about.  All over the church people were pulling out hymnals and finding that song.  By the second verse, the congregation joined in to sing with the man.  By the third verse, the tenor was beginning to find the ranger.  By the fourth verse, it was beautiful.  Then, on the fifth verse, the congregation was silent once more and the tenor sang the most beautiful solo of his life.”

See you in church.


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