“We who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” ~Romans 12:5
Romans 12 deals with the corporate life of the Church. Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice, being transformed, developing the mind of Christ (12:1-2) — all of this takes place in community.
Our Western individualistic traditions can make this a problem. We can very easily, I think, see ourselves as doing what’s necessary to be saved and living together in the community of faith as two different, not necessarily related, things.
But all of Holy Scripture refutes that notion. We are called to be together.
Paul’s teaching in Romans 12 is that we cannot fully renew our minds without the active help of other believers. We can’t fully understand what Scripture teaches apart from dialogue with others who are reading the same Scripture. We cannot live our lives as disciples of Christ outside the nurturing context of a community of believers who encourage us, pray for us, and set examples for us. We can’t always discern the blind spots in our obedience to God without fellow believers to point them out.
Sometimes we think of ourselves “more highly than we ought” (12:3) and conclude we don’t really need anybody’s help.
More directly, we participate in the life of the Church to help others grow. “We have different gifts according to the grace given us” (12:6). Whatever gift you’ve been given, you are under obligation to your Lord to use it to serve his people. Other Christians need what each of us has to offer. As the human body is at a disadvantage without a foot, or an eye, or a kidney, so the Church is harmed when the full array of gifts are not being exercised within it.
So if you’re not involved, GET INVOLVED! If you’re not serving someone, SERVE SOMEONE! If you’re not participating, PARTICIPATE! Not only are you missing out, you’re depriving me of Christian growth if you’re not an active member of the Lord’s Church.