What's Your Gut Reaction?

Intestines as part of the Christian church body

Big belly of a stranger (NOT the author's)Several places in the Bible, the Christian church is described as a body with many different parts. All parts are important. Some parts of the body are more visible than others. But, whether upfront or hidden in a supporting role, each role has value. And there is an interdependence throughout the body.

Most of us do not think about our intestines very often. Tucked inside our belly is about 25 feet (8 meters) of intestines. Think about that for a second. When stretched out, that may be enough to reach across the width of your home! Fold it in fourths and it still reaches from head to toe. That is one large body part! It is certainly much larger in size than the mouth or eyes or even your hands. It is big.

The primary role of the intestines is to make the energy and nutrients of food available to the rest of the body. And if the intestines are not working properly? Well, let's just say it can be a really messy situation. Too many resources will go right through the body back to the outside world. And the body will become weak due to lack of nutrients. And it will struggle trying to carry out its tasks.

A practical look at the Christian body reveals that it too requires a significant role similar to intestines. For a large percentage of Christians, their primary role in life is to take available resources and make them useful and accessible to the rest of the body. The intestines need to fulfill their role so that the body can be healthy and strong carrying out its purpose.

Even though the intestines have a supporting role, it is absolutely critical for the health and survival of the body. It is very important.

So how about you? What is your role in the body? Perhaps God has called you to a role like the intestines. Maybe you have resources available due to talents and gifts and circumstances. Perhaps God wants to provide nutrients to the entire body through those resources you have available.

How about you? What's your gut reaction?



Part 2 - The Large Intestine or Colon

Other related functions of the intestines are getting rid of waste and absorbing the proper amount of water. The church body needs those functions too.

Certainly money is a resource the church body needs. But there are other resources needed too. And maybe you or someone you know can provide those for the benefit of the body.

We need people with wisdom and discernment. There is a definite need for spiritual discernment. But we also need God-given wisdom in business operations, finance and personnel.

The intestines are smart about knowing what is helpful for the body and what is waste. They recognize what is effective and what is not. People in this role show discernment.

Beyond the obvious getting rid of waste, they also help organizations focus on what is best. It takes wisdom to separate what an organization can do from what an organization should do. The desire to start up another program, continue ineffective methods or splurge on staff benefits are just a few examples where wise counsel can help us focus on our true calling, what is most effective and what is most beneficial for the entire body. The church body needs people with wisdom.

In today's environment, there can be a tendency to over-emphasize policies and procedures. With good intentions, we add structure to everything. Even a ministry can start to function like an assembly line - quite possibly copying some ministry or church hundreds of miles away. The ministry can start to look like a machine. The life of the organization is no longer there.

We must keep balance. The organizations, and the people in them, need a steady supply of life-giving water. They need to be receiving training, time away from everyday tasks, time for relationship-building and other things to keep a healthy balance. We cannot lose the human touch. We must let people function as people. People carrying out tasks also need vision. Besides the efficiency experts, the body needs people with wisdom in leading people.

You or someone you know may have acquired wisdom like this over the years. If so, the body needs you functioning in that role. Can you lend a few hours to an organization or two. Perhaps you can provide high-level guidance on a board or as a consultant. Maybe sharing your wisdom will be your second career and a way to finish well. Be open to possibilities of how God might use you and your experience.

Perhaps it was unplanned and unintentional on your part. But God may have brought you to a place where you can provide this service for the benefit of the body. Just like the large intestine, that role is critical to the health of the body.

How about you? What's your gut reaction?

Copyright © 2006 Ronald G. Hedberg. All rights reserved.

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