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supporting ligaments

This past weekend at Mountainview, Jim spoke about the nature of the church being a movement and used Paul’s description of the church as a body.  We are all either eyes, ears, or elbows.  He reminded us that church is a verb and not a noun.

During our communion meditation (“communion med” in our short-hand language — but calling it a “med” makes me uncomfortable!) I used Ephesians 4:16 and focused on this particular phrase: “joined and held together by every supporting ligament.”  As Christ-followers, we are each a supporting ligament to the body of Christ (the church).  We may hold different muscles together, but every ligament is important.

During my junior year in college I tore the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee playing intramural basketball.  I heard a loud “pop” and my knee just buckled.  Within minutes it was swollen and changing colors.  If you’ve ever strained or torn a ligament, you know how it feels.

Although each believer is a supporting ligament to the body of Christ, there are times when we are stretched, strained, or simply torn.  We may be strained because we made a sudden motion that didn’t fit with our character or calling.  The soreness serves to remind us — don’t do that again.

I’ve also met believers who were detached ligaments.  Disgruntled or disabled, they are ligaments without an assignment.  No muscles to support.  Nothing to hold on to.  Some times the pain of separation makes them weary to get connected again.  But a non-attached ligament is of no use to the body.  Eventually, it suffers from a lack of belonging.

Thankfully, not all ligaments are stretched, strained, or torn.  I’ve been privileged to know and serve alongside ligaments that have grown stronger through the years.  Their weight-bearing capacity has increased, allowing the body of Christ to take on greater challenges and meet greater opportunities.  At times, these strong ligaments even lend a part of themselves to buttress a weaker ligament.

Technology has created artificial ligaments.  But in the body of Christ, no artificial ligaments should be allowed to replace the real ones.  When we rely on artificial ligaments to the exclusion of the real ones, we only deprive ourselves.  Marketing, technology, databases — these are artificial ligaments we may use to support the body of Christ for a season, or to supplement the growth of the natural ligaments.  But they must not replace the development of living ligaments.

Our best investments always go towards people.  The best development dollar you’ll ever spend is when you invest in a person with potential.

Supporting ligaments.  You never know how important they are until one goes missing!