I stumbled across an old adage again that is mainly of interest to those who try to grow things but the principle involved has application to everything we do. The saying went like this: “The best fertilizer is the farmer’s footprints.” The message it tries to get across is that to be successful at growing anything the care and attention given is going to have more to do with the success of the venture than any other one thing. You can immediately see all the applications. The best nutrition for a child is the love and nurture provided by loving and attentive parents. The best thing for a marriage or any other relationship is the attention given it. The most important thing for success in a business or profession is the personal attention given. And the most important contribution given a church is the care, love and devotion provided by sincerely concerned members who focus their attention on the needs of all the other members of the church and unsaved members of the community and world.
The book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 16 informs us that the whole body is “fitly framed together by that which every joint supplieth.” In this simile “every joint” is referring to every member. Our trouble often comes from the fact that there are too many members within the church (the body) who fail to provide the help that God is looking for them to supply. When a member, any member, fails to do all he can, the church is going to suffer. There’s no way that the devastation from this lack can be avoided. The best program for the growth of the church is a program that finds every member being concerned and working diligently to find and do everything he can. It can’t be a matter of waiting to be told to do things. We each have different abilities and those must be put to use. It is only in this way that success in the work of the church can come about.
The admonition given in I Corinthians 14:12 is too often overlooked, “Seek that ye may abound unto the edifying of the church.” To seek to edify the church means I must search for ways I can use my God-given gifts, whatever they may be, to help the church to grow. The edifying of the church is going to come from individual members. When we fail to supply that, the failure is going to be seen in the lack of growth of the church as a whole.
A phrase in an old parlor game they used to play said, “Get to work and show your trade.” By your pantomiming you demonstrated who you were. It still works that way.
Another adage, or old saying, is in the form of a question: “If every other member were just like me, what kind of church would this church be?” The question is valid because the growth of the whole is dependent upon what is going on with each member. Each can do something about it, but too many look to everybody else to do the supplying. When we all study, pray, do and say all God requires, the church will grow and prosper. That’s what we want isn’t it?