THE BUILDING OF THE CHURCH REQUIRING THE FUNCTIONING OF ALL THE MEMBERS
Second, everyone who is being built up in a local church must learn to exercise his function. Colossians 2:19 shows us that in the Body some are joints while others are sinews. Joints are for supply, whereas sinews are for knitting together. The supplying joints and the knitting sinews are necessary for the building up of the Body. These two kinds of members are big members. Besides these, there are many small members. In the church every one of the brothers and sisters is a member of the Body. Hence, under normal circumstances, each one, whether big or small, has a function.
Moreover, Ephesians 4:16 says, “All the Body, being joined together and being knit together through every joint of the rich supply and through the operation in the measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love.” Therefore, each member should function according to his own measure. If in a local church all the saints were like this—you performed your function, I fulfilled my duty, he carried out his charge, and each one operated according to his own measure and manifested his particular function—then the church there would be built up.
There can only be two reasons for the function of a member not to be manifested. One reason is that there is no growth, and the other reason is that a problem has developed. Although a newborn baby has hands and feet, he cannot use them. After he grows a little, however, his hands and feet have some movement. Then after he grows a little bit more, his hands will be able to do things, and his feet will be able to walk. If there is no growth, however, the functions cannot be manifested. Sometimes a grown-up person may have a sickness in a certain part of his body; if so, the function of that part cannot be manifested either.
If you love the Lord, but your function is still not manifested, then you must believe that surely it is either because you are short of growth or because you have a problem, a sickness. In addition, all our problems and troubles are due to our not having been broken. Dear brothers and sisters, please believe my word. As soon as you receive the breaking, your function will be manifested. There was once a person who, due to his loose talk, did not have any function in the church. Then one day he was broken by God by being dealt with in his speaking. Immediately his function was manifested. Perhaps you would ask me, “What can I do? What is my function?” I believe that you have already seen enough in these years. There are many areas of service in the church. We all can participate in these services for the manifestation of our function. Some of us should intercede for others. Some should go out frequently to visit others. Some can help others in particular problems. Some can supply others in the meeting. Some can minister the word. Some can engage in taking care of general affairs. For example, someone can do cleaning and while doing so supply life to others. If we all carry out our respective functions, the church will be built up.
For instance, in a big church, where three hundred to five hundred people are baptized at the same time, we cannot expect the responsible brothers to render proper care to all of them. In actuality the responsible brothers often are unable even to become acquainted with all the newly baptized ones, not to mention to take care of them. Then who is going to take care of the new ones? This is the responsibility of all the brothers and sisters. Every brother and every sister should pick up the burden to take care of several new ones and bear them all the time. Maybe you would say, “I do not know how to do this.” But please remember that at least you can get them to come to the meetings. When it is time for the meeting, you can go and invite them to the meeting. In addition you can continually remember them in your prayers. These are functions.
I am speaking from the minimum perspective. I believe that many of us have functions that are greater than what I just described. Your real function does not come from the arrangement of others; rather, it comes out of your direct dealing with the Lord. If you pursue the Lord, receive His breaking, and are willing to be built up, your function will be manifested. We should not have the wrong concept that all the areas of service in the church are the responsibilities of the pastors and preachers. We need to see that the service in the local churches is the responsibility of every believer. In the New Testament age all the saved ones are priests, and they are also members one of another. Hence, in the church we all need to exercise our function according to our measure for the building up of the Body of Christ.
(The Building Work of God, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)