The Missing Ingredient
by Kim and Nate Wright
When I (Nate) was in high school I spent a summer working at a local movie theater in the concession area (concessions paid $.25 more per hour than ushers were paid, which at the time seemed like a lot of money). Most of the people I worked with were also in high school. That summer we banded together and formed a sort of family that was united by the fact that we all shared the same low-paying, often thankless jobs.
One of the interesting perks of the job was that it made for some good people watching. The routine for moviegoers was always the same: buy your ticket, get some popcorn and a drink, kick back and enjoy the show, then leave the theater and discuss what you liked and didn’t like about the movie you saw.
Spectator or Servant?
There are many parallels between the movie theater I worked at and the church today. On Sunday mornings, we walk in and grab a cup of coffee and a donut or two. We head into the auditorium and pick up a worship guide. We sit back and enjoy the show, hoping to be entertained, and then we drive home discussing what we liked and disliked about the singing and the preaching. As Christians we are called to so much more than this. In Ephesians 2:19 we are challenged with this thought: “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family” (NLT).
What an awesome calling and responsibility! We are members of God’s family. We get to call the same God who created the universe a family member. Like all families, we have an important role that we each play. We all have different abilities that, when used in harmony with our fellow family members, come together in a glorious way for the kingdom of God.
It can be easy to forget how much work goes into making the Sunday morning worship experience happen at church. It all comes off so seamlessly that it can look like there isn’t any additional help that’s needed. A night at the movies is made possible by a variety of people ranging from the famous actors on the screen to the guy who cleans the bathroom every night. In the church that same level of serving is needed from those on stage to those who greet others at the doors, to those working in childcare, to the seemingly smallest of details behind the scenes. When everyone fulfills his or her role, the church is at its best! Sort of like fresh, hot, buttery popcorn. Only better. Being committed to the church, and to the family you are a part of means you’re looking to do much more than just sit back and watch the show. What you bring to the table is desperately needed.
Just a Teaspoon
One day I (Kim) decided to surprise my family with a chocolate dessert. You know, the kind that melts in your mouth, makes you roll your eyes toward Heaven as you take the first bite, thanking God for cocoa beans and butter, ooey-gooey-yummy-deliciousness-kind-of dessert.
I whipped together the ingredients, put it in the oven, and proceeded to prepare the chocolate icing that gets poured over the warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate cake. The house smelled divine, and the family was due home any minute to dive into my masterpiece—and I couldn’t wait.
Eighteen minutes later (not seventeen as it would be too gooey and not nineteen as it would be too dry) I pulled the cake out of the oven. To my surprise, it was completely and utterly flat! I cut into it only to find it wasn’t cake-like at all, but rubbery. What in the world happened? I went over my list of ingredients and tried to retrace the order in which I put it together. Of the ten ingredients listed on my recipe card I had forgotten one . . . one tsp baking soda.
How could this be? I mean seriously, it’s just one itty bitty teaspoon of dry powder. But what a huge difference its absence made!
The apostle Paul talked about something similar in 1 Corinthians 12 when he addressed the importance each individual member brings to the body of believers, the church. All the individual ingredients of my recipe were necessary to make a cake . . . even that one little teaspoon of baking soda. Likewise, all the members of the church are too . . . no matter how seemingly small. When one is missing, the flavor of the church is different. Flat, if you will.
Paul says it like this: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its parts form one body, so it is with Christ. . . . In fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1Corinthians 12:12, 18, NIV). Our physical bodies are made up of many parts. Hands, fingers, feet, toes, eyes, ears, arms, legs and so on. Each part is essential to our well-being and our functionality. It takes each part doing its job for the body to function as God designed it to do.
If you were to compare your present role in your home and in the church to the ingredients of a cake, which ingredient do you think you would be? You are essential in bringing your part to help the body called the church operate as it should. You are an indispensable ingredient to the success of your family and the church.
Join us this coming Sunday at Christ’s Church at 9:00 or 10:30 am or watch online here as we talk about how important your role is in your family and in the church.
Nate Wright is a certified financial planner who is happily raising three rambunctious boys with his wife Amber.
Kim Wright writes a blog on Finding Sacred in the Simple.