Read: I Corinthians 12
We have learned that the communion of saints means that within the church each member receives the blessings of Christ, but each member also receives gifts and responsibilities unique to him, which make him able to occupy his own unique place.
This same truth applies to a congregation. All share in a common salvation, but all also have unique gifts and abilities. There are no two people alike in a congregation, any more than there are two people alike in the whole church.
Each saint lives his own life in the world. Each has his own sins. Each is saved by grace, but in different ways that give him grace for his walk and calling. Each has his or her own responsibilities. Each is important in the church, whether high or low, young or old, brilliant of mind or mediocre, with bodily and mental handicaps, or normal in all respects, male or female, employer or employee, etc.
Now, then, says our teacher, “Every one [of you] must know it to be [your] duty, readily and cheerfully to employ [your] gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.”
Away goes all self-seeking and self-centeredness. With a wave of the hand, our teacher tells us, “You and what happens to you are not important; what use you are to the congregation of which you are a member – that is the one and only important thing!”
The responsibility for the advantage and salvation of your fellow members is and must be your only concern. Are you tired after a day in school? Never mind. It is not important. There is a fellow classmate that is troubled and needs you.
Has Christ given you a gift of music? Are you asked to use your gift for worldly entertainment in special programs? That is a waste of your gift. Is it your idea that the church is too small and that you would be wasting your gift if you used it to play the piano on the Lord’s Day? The teacher says, “If you belong to the church, stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the church and how you are called to serve it.
Are you so busy earning your daily bread that Bible Study tonight is too great a burden? O selfish person! Why did Christ put you in the church? For your own pleasure? Did Christ seek his own pleasure when he went to the cross for you? For you, a worthless sinner?
There is only one reason why you have, with an unmerited favor of a gracious God, been given a place in that noble and exalted company of saints. That place is to serve others. Maybe that is as a mother in the home, bringing up your children, the children of the covenant, in the ways of God’s covenant. Maybe your place is to teach in a school for covenant children. Maybe your place is to be an elder, a deacon, a minister. Maybe your place is to keep the church clean for worship. Maybe your place is to speak a word of good cheer to that lonely fellow saint whose burdens are so great they almost crush her.
The welfare of the church, whatever the cost – that is what it means to believe in the communion of the saints.