“…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” ~Ephesians 4:12-13

We wrapped up our quarterly Central Orientation for visitors and new members to our congregation this morning by talking about works of service. We read the above passage from Ephesians 4 — it’s quickly becoming a bit of a theme passage for us around here — and reminded one another that these works are prepared in advance by God for us to do. If we really are the body of Christ, it’s vital that each member of the body function according to the gifts he or she has been given by the Holy Spirit to do the works that have prepared for that member by God. We stress this all the time at Central. A member of the Central Church of Christ doesn’t just show up on Sundays and sit there.

Legendary Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson was asked one time if professional sports contributed at all to the physical fitness of Americans. He surprised most everybody in the room when he said, “No.”

“A professional football game is a happening where thousands of spectators desperately needing exercise sit in the stands watching twenty-two men on the field desperately needing rest.”

I hope that doesn’t describe your church: a handful of participants and a whole bunch of spectators.

All of us — you and me, everybody in your church and everybody in mine —desperately need exercise. The passage in Ephesians tells us clearly that working for the sake of others builds up the body. Works of service result in unity. Selflessly serving others causes us to be mature in Christ. Using our divinely ordained gifts to benefit others is part of attaining to that whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Paul goes on to say that these works of service keep us from acting like babies, from being tricked by lies and false teachings. Working hard for our Lord and his church is part of “growing up into Christ.”

“…as each part does its work.”

If you’re in God’s Church, you’re in a work zone. You’re not just sitting there, right?