Mealtimes are somewhat of a collaborative effort around here usually—which is how it should be when there are this many people living together under one roof. I do most of the cooking—sometimes with Laurie’s help—although Fernando enjoys cooking an Ecuadorian meal now and then. Katie and Matthew set the table, Melissa fills the glasses and helps clear the table, and Sara and Gabi wash and dry the dishes. There are sometimes little squabbles—especially between Matthew and Katie. He always wants to do the part that Katie is doing. “Why does Katie always get to put on the plates?” he’ll fuss. I’ll suggest he put on the silverware, but no—he stubbornly walks around the table taking off the plates Katie just set, and then walks around again putting them back on! That’s a male for you—well, a four-year-old male, anyway.
I enjoy watching the little ones do their chores—especially when they decide to add their own little twist to them. Matthew has to count out nine of everything. Sometimes he gets it right, sometimes he doesn’t. Katie, bless her little heart, has lately been folding the napkins “fancy.” Her latest thing, though, is to help out sister Melissa by taking everyone’s drink orders. She tucks her little notebook into the waistband of her pants and puts her pencil behind her ear (pretending she’s a waitress) until she is ready and then whips them out to write down each person’s preference. Matthew, of course, cannot be outdone, so a minute or two later, here he comes with his big notebook asking, “What do you and Grandpa want to drink, Grandma?” His writing is just chicken scratch that only he can read, but he carefully “jots” down each order just the same. And then Melissa, not quite trusting her little sister and brother, goes around double-checking what each person wants to drink.
I have told all three of them several times, “My answer will always be the same—I don’t really care what I drink as long as it is “diet,” and Grandpa always drinks half a glass of milk—breakfast, lunch and supper!” I still get asked, though, three times before every meal, “What do you want to drink, Grandma?” Ah, well…
Yes, there’s a little sibling rivalry going on. Most of us usually outgrow that, don’t we? There are some families who still experience it, though, even as adult sisters and brothers. And sad to say, even in the family of God here on earth, there can be a little sibling rivalry. We sometimes look with envy on the ministries of others—or perhaps look down on them. At times we may be critical of the way someone accomplishes his work within the body of Christ. Or perhaps we are dissatisfied with the ministry to which God has called us, or simply burnt out on it.
We each have our part in the family of God. Our ministry, our responsibility, our calling. Romans 12:4-8 says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
It is important that we realize that before the world even began God had a holy calling for each one of us. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (II Timothy 1:9) If, then, He has called us, He has been faithful to also equip us for whatever it is He has called us to do. I Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”
I Corinthians 12:4-6, 11-25 tells us, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all…But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all
baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”
This passage of Scripture tells us that God has set each of us in the Body as it pleases Him. He also says that no member is more important or honorable than another. Those working behind the scenes are just as necessary and valuable as those in the forefront. The body could not function if we all were called to do the same exact thing. There are many members but just one Body, and each one is needed to perform the ministry to which God has called him.
Matthew and Katie are still little and immature. They will grow up someday and hopefully outgrow their sibling rivalry. The Lord asks us to be mature, as well, and work in unity for the strengthening and perfecting of each member and the Body as a whole. Ephesians 4: 11-16 tells us not to be like little children but grow up! “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with
every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
God gives us, through His grace and for His purposes, exactly what we need to accomplish the work He has called us to do—and it has been His will and His plan since before the world began! I don’t know about you, but that thought is awe-inspiring to me! It ought to be an attitude changer, as well, if we are at all discontent with our place in the family of God! Let us then joyfully and
humbly serve Him wherever and however He calls!