“Scripture teaches that the corporate good is always higher than the personal experience. We must choose the ‘we’ over ‘me’.”
The Voice, America’s Got Talent, American Idol. These hugely popular shows feature ordinary people with incredible giftedness. While thousands audition, only one contestant will claim the title and the promise of fame.
Clearly, our society places a high value on the individual. But while appreciating our personal worth can be a good thing, Scripture emphasizes that we cannot be healthy followers of Jesus without fully embracing community as a part of the body of Christ. Over and over again, Scripture teaches that the corporate good is always higher than the personal experience. We must choose the “we” over “me.”
When we follow Jesus, we become a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We find a place of belonging within the church, and life is no longer just about us (1 Cor. 12:27). With Jesus Christ as the head of the body, the Holy Spirit works within individual members of His Church, empowering us, gifting us, and binding us together as one.
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts. These gifts are not for our own glory but are intended to glorify God and to edify or touch the hearts of people around us (Eph. 4:12). Some of us are gifted to lead. Others to give. Still others to serve.
Our local church congregations are made up of a wide variety of people: tall and short, old and young, loud and quiet. While at first glance, we may seem to have very little in common, together, through the power of the Spirit, we form a unified body, created for a unique purpose. “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Rom. 12:5). And, just like each part of the human body, we are designed to work together for the common good: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Cor. 12:21).
The only number one in any church is Jesus Christ. And no matter how we are gifted, it is never meant just for ourselves. Each gift, given by the Spirit, is to be used for God and for others. For God’s people, the we is always more important than the me.