Mick’s Memo – Boundaries, Limitations and Overlap

As we investigate Paul’s teaching on the nature of the church in his first letter to the Corinthians, we are confronted with boundaries, limitations and overlap.  God has designed humanity for interdependence, not isolation.  The first thing described by the Creation account in Scripture that is assessed as anything but “good” or “very good” is the man being alone.  God then creates Eve to solve Adam’s isolation.  Paul’s inspired instructions to Corinth point out that God has designed us with inherent need for community. 

Our individual capabilities have boundaries and limitations. We are subjective and finite.  We don’t see all perspectives.  We have blind spots and vulnerabilities that are part of our nature.  We can only be in one place at a time.  In His wisdom, God designed us to function together.  He gives us complementary gifts, abilities and responsibilities.  He places us where we are needed and puts us among others to whom we can bring God’s influence and through whom He can influence us.  Last week we considered this truth …

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NLT)

This week we will consider the diversity and relationships between some of those gifts. We will see that boundaries and limitations lead to overlap.  They intersect so that the whole becomes much greater than just the sum of the parts.  Overlap necessitates the challenging process of cooperation, collaboration and (dare I use the term) compromise.  Don’t shoot! I’m not talking about compromise of doctrine or values; I’m talking about compromising my preferences or perks for the good of others. The very core of influence in Jesus’ teaching is about self-denial. His disciples struggled with this which prompted Him to challenge them with this pivotal leadership principle…

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:42-45 (NLT)

God designed the church to be a place where limited, finite people—redeemed by faith in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, humbly serve one another for the greater good of the fellowship and the communities around them.  We flourish best when we honor His boundaries, acknowledge our limitations and maximize the benefit the overlap.

Thank you for your generous gifts to the expansion fund and for volunteering your efforts helping with the work.  The progress shows!

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

Mick