you belong to me
The boy behind the counter had long, thick dredlocks, like earthy brown ropes. I’d only recently learned how one went about turning straight hair into dredlocks, and the whole process fascinated me. “I like your hair,” I said.
He smiled, rung up my order, and said, “Well, I like your cross.”
I know that kids today often wear crosses for no other reason than because it’s fashionable, but something told me this boy liked my necklace for a different reason.
“Are you a Christian?” I asked.
He smiled. “Yep.”
“Hey--that's great!" I handed him the money for my chicken burger. “Where do you go to church?”
His smile faded slightly and his eyes changed. I saw a spark of defiance there, a look that said he was preparing for a battle.
“I don’t. I like to think my church is wherever I am. God can’t be contained within a building.” He waited for my response.
I knew what he expected to hear. Most lone ranger, stand alone Christians have heard all the arguments. They've weathered those conversations in which they’ve been lectured to “not neglect our church meetings” (Hebrews 10:25, TLB). They’ve been warned that their faith will be weakened if they aren’t in regular fellowship, and told of all the dangers that lurk for those who’ve wandered from the fold.
I could see by the look in the boy's eyes that he expected me to say something along those lines. I could have. Those arguments are all true. But what popped into my mind wasn’t a warning about how he needed the church. Instead, I thought about how great it would be to get to know him, and how refreshing it would be to get a younger perspective on things. I thought about how much he might add to a body of believers.
“That’s too bad,” I said. “That means that somewhere, there’s a church missing out on you.”
It's an undeniable fact: We need each other. I need to hear your stories and you need to hear mine. I'm curious to hear how God drew you to Himself. I want to know about all the times He’s provided for you and given you peace and strength to get through life’s difficulties. It builds my faith to hear what God has whispered to you--and it builds yours to hear what He's said to me. Our lessons aren't ours to hoard.
Paul reminded us in Romans 12:5 that we’ve been chosen to be part of Christ’s body. “Each of us finds our meaning and function as part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we?” (Msg)
Whatever benefit we think we might derive from being a lone ranger Christian, the truth is that we weaken ourselves and deprive the church of our gifts when we try to stand alone.
Without each other, we hobble.
“Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” --Romans 12:5b (NLT)
Labels: The Bride of Christ