Have you ever found a piece of something and not known what it was? It looked important. It obviously came from something else. Now it’s your personal space, lost and alone.
I recently tossed out a small screw I was holding on to. Too many people sat in my office and asked about it. It wasn’t on display or in a “lost and found” box. Day after day it sat in the top of a small wooden chalice from Israel that I keep next to a menorah my in-laws gave me after their trip to the Holy Land.
Too many people must have commented on it that week. I picked it up, looked at, and threw it away. As much as I hoped to find its home, for years it sat without one.
Thankfully, God doesn’t forget where something, or someone goes. He knows exactly where they belong. The trick for us is trusting in God’s wisdom and craftsmanship.
After all, God made the Universe. I don’t think anyone looked over His shoulder and questioned about the order of the planets or which colors to give to the elements. In Proverbs 8, we are given a speech from Wisdom, who declares herself involved in the works of Creation:
I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
(Proverbs 8:27-29 NIV)
The writer used the idea of wisdom as a person, but wisdom is an unfathomable attribute of God. We think of wise people as having acquired a wealth of experience, learning, or knowledge. Yet God knew all things from beginning to end, before the beginning.
God Knows What He Is Doing
Creation is an example to us of His wisdom at work with His power. When He wants to make or accomplish something, He does it perfectly. The Universe proves it for those who choose to see it.
But God hasn’t finished His creating work. Actually, it is more of a building project. Scripture tells us God takes believers in Christ and forms them into a spiritual temple, the Body of Christ.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple… (1 Peter 2:5 NLT)
… But God has put the body together … so that there should be no division in the body … (1 Corinthians 12:24-25 NIV)
That means He has a special place for every believer in His Church. Not just the local church you attend where you worship and hear a sermon. But the universal Church, the Body of Christ, made up of all who believe.
Trusting the Builder
Sometimes, though, we look around our churches and think there are few people who don’t really belong. Either they look funny, sound funny, or just don’t fit in. Or we feel like we are the ones everyone else is looking at.
What we forget is the truth about the Builder of the Church. None of us are responsible for building the Church. We are to share the Gospel and make disciples, yes. But Jesus said He would build His Church, and we already showed how God is doing the building.
Now we have to ask ourselves, do the people around me at Church belong here because of the way I think they should look or sound? Or is God the One who decides who should be here. Let’s check the Scriptures:
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18 NIV)
Uh oh. God puts everyone right where He wants them? Even those noisy kids in the third row? What about the grumpy old man who thinks he’s greeting people at the door? We like to think God is bringing in those we get along with, but can we really take the chance that those we don’t like should be shown the door?
When it comes to being the People of God, our first job is to look at God. We love with Him with all are, surrender our lives to Him, and ask Him to shape and use us for His glory. The next step isn’t to look around the room and start wishing people out the door.
We have to trust God knows what He is doing. There may be people in the church you like sitting a pew away from a family you can’t stand. Our job isn’t to decide who belongs in our church. As long as they aren’t bringing harm to the Body, who are we to judge? Only the builder knows when the screw doesn’t belong in the project.
If God is the builder, and He puts everyone where He wants them, we have to accept and love those around us. That doesn’t mean we give them our internet passwords or spend all of our free time listening to them complain about the church. But we show them respect and love.
When God wants someone in the Church, don’t be the one to tap Him on the shoulder and ask if He’s sure about it. He is. When they believe in Jesus and God brings them in the door, they belong right there. And if they really don’t belong, if they really don’t belong with us, we have to trust God will remove them at the right time.
If you want to hear more about God as the Builder of the Church and what our attitude should be towards those around us at Church, listen to “From Many to One”, the second part of the message in a series entitled, The People of God.