Different members of the church have different characteristics that they are known for in the congregation. Let us not examine everybody else, but ourselves to see what kind of member we are: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
A My Way or No Way Member
Some members are easy to get along with as long as everybody does things their way. They may even brag on you from time to time. But just wait until they want something they don't get and their attitude changes drastically. Now they refuse to cooperate. Now you are not as smart as you were before. They will often start picking at everything possible, and if they can't find something to pick at they will go as far as to invent something.
It is not unusual to see this kind of member to work behind the scenes and undermine the elders and other members, while acting innocent the whole time. The my way or no way member stands condemned by God's word: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me to you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you" (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).
The my way or no way member values his own opinion over everybody else's. He will often take matters of opinion and make them as though they were matters of doctrine. He will never understand why everybody else doesn't see things the same way he does, while never considering the point of view of others. While repentance is in order for himself, the my way or no way member thinks it is everybody else that needs to change. The Bible says: "For I say, though the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).
The my way or no way member can cause a lot of needless headaches for the church. While the spreading of the gospel should be taking place, special attention is required to take care of the fire the contentious has started. The my way or no way member will usually leave a congregation and try and find one that will pacify him, rather than repent and work to get along with others where he already is.
A Lazy Member
The lazy member is one that you cannot give any responsibility to, since he will not take care of his responsibilities. He will look for excuses why something cannot be done, or why it can just wait for another day, a day that never comes. God said: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?" (Proverbs 6:6-9).
God's people should be characterized as diligent people, not lazy: "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). The lazy member can often talk a good game, but that is about as far as it goes. They are content to let everyone else carry the load, then wonder why the church isn't growing. The lazy member may on occasion have a good idea, but it never gets off the ground unless someone else does it. Lazy members are an embarrassment to the church. They can also frustrate the members that are working.
In the days of Nehemiah the work of rebuilding the walls of the city of Jerusalem were successful because of the vision of the leaders and the willingness of everybody to work: "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work" (Nehemiah 4:6). The Lord deserves better than what the lazy member is willing to give. The fellow members deserves better than what the lazy member is willing to give. It is still true: if you want something done, give the job to someone who is already busynot the lazy member.
A Dedicated Member
A dedicated member will not be stopped by the weather. A dedicated member will labor to make a work successful whether it was his idea or not. A dedicated member will work with the elders and other members, not against them. A dedicated member will not pout when he doesn't get his way. A dedicated member will repent when necessary in stead of being full of pride.
One of the things the church is plagued with in most places is a shortage of dedicated members. The apostle Paul had a strong bond with the church at Philippi because of their love for the Lord:
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:3-11).
The church at Philippi brought forth fruits of righteousness because of their love and dedication to the Lord. They had problems, but they were dealt with and moved on instead of allowing discord to be sown: "I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord" (Philippians 4:2). Notice the following verses:
And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good repost; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:3- 8).
When they thought on those things that were righteous and put forth the needed effort, the church flourished. Today if we still dedicate our lives wholly to God the church will flourish where we are as well. I hope and pray that if any of us is a "my way or no way member" or "a lazy member" that we will each give our lives to God and become a dedicated member. "Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Philippians 4:20).
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