Whose Needs Are to Be Met?

I was in the supermarket one day, and a lady came down the aisle whom I could barely see over the top of her groceries. I got somewhat frightened because she seemed to be heading straight for me. She screeched to a halt within a few feet of me, peered over her head, wagged her finger, and said, “I left your church. I left your church.”

So I said, “Well, if it’s my church, I think that was a very wise decision. If it’s my church, I think I’m going to leave, too.”

She said, “Don’t you want to know why I left?”

I said, “No, not particularly, but I think I’m going to find out.” And I was right.

She said, “You weren’t meeting my needs.”

I answered, “I don’t ever recollect seeing you before, let alone talking to you, let alone knowing your needs. Did you ever tell anyone specifically what your needs were?”

She couldn’t recall that she had, so I raised another question. “Can you tell me, if we have 5,000 people sitting in that church, all with your attitude, how are anyone’s needs going to be met? If you reserve the right to have that attitude, then you must give everybody the freedom to have that attitude. And if everybody has that attitude, who on earth is going to do all the need-meeting?”

Standing her ground, she demanded, “Then you tell me who will.”

Relieved, I said, “I thought you’d never ask. This is what will work: When people stop sitting in the pew saying, ‘They’re not meeting my needs’ and start saying, ‘Whose needs can I meet?’ then needs will be met. When the servant spirit flourishes in a congregation, then they minister to each other as unto the Lord.”

One day it occurred to the members of the body that they were doing all the work and that the belly was having all the food. So they held a meeting, and after a long discussion, decided to strike work until the belly consented to take its proper share of the work. So for a day or two, the hands refused to take the food; the mouth refused to receive it; and the teeth had no work to do. But after a day or two, members began to find that they themselves were not in a very active condition. The hands could hardly move; the mouth was all parched and dry; while the legs were unable to support the rest. Thus they found that even the belly in its dull, quiet way was doing necessary work for the body, and that all must work together or the body would go to pieces.

 – Aesop

The human body does not exist to meet the needs of the hand. The hand exists to meet the needs of the body, and in doing so, gets its own needs met. The church (the body of Christ) does not exit to meet our needs. We exist to carry out the work of the body, and in doing so, our own needs are met.

By Judah Thomas


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