Pastor Cal's
Weekly Message

These messages
contain the manuscript
that the Pastor uses to
prompt him as he
preaches each Sunday
morning at worship.

The actual sermon may
vary but this will give
you an idea of what he
said if you missed the
service.

We hope to have audio
or video clips of his
messages and the
special music we enjoy  
available on this site  by
next fall.
Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) -596-4929     

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Created for Something Big

June 12, 2011                                                I Corinthians 12:3-13

Rick Warren tells us that we were created for a purpose. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life,
Warren suggests that we are part of a plan bigger than the sum parts of all of our lives. Yet some
times we live as though we believe our lives didn’t matter.

A few years ago I played the part of Linus in the musical, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.”  
Now I love to play the goof and one of the best scenes for me in that show was the moment when
Lucy came in the room and demanded that I change the channel on the TV. With a stiff upper lip I
refused and then said with all the bravado I could muster, “What makes you think you can walk in
here and take over?”

And Lucy says “You see these five fingers? Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them
together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold”.
My reply? “Which channel would you like?” Then I looked at my fingers and said, “Why can’t you
guys get organized like that?”

There is power in coming together with a purpose. The combined resources of many people and
many gifts allow us to accomplish far more than any one person or group can do alone.
You know that is the history of the American Baptists. Adoniram Judson was a congregational
missionary who went over to India to save souls.  On the long ocean journey, as he was reading the
scriptures, he was convicted of the fact that believers baptism was the way to salvation and he
became a Baptist. So he sent word back to the States and the Baptist churches in Boston came
together to support him in his work. In 1813 the Baptist Society for Propagating Mission was
formed to do exactly that. In Philadelphia a year later, the interest grew and even more Baptist
congregations got involved and signed on as a new Mission board. The idea was that together we
can do far more than we can do alone.

In our text today Paul emphasizes this with the illustration of the body. He says that we are a body
with many parts. I like the illustration I heard on just how this body might work in a typical
church.

Imagine that someone dropped a plate full of dessert on the floor at a pot luck dinner. This is how
people with different gifts would respond.

• Gift of prophecy:  “That’s what happens when you’re not careful.”

• Gift of service” “Oh, let me help you clean it up.”

• Gift of teaching: “ The reason that it fell was because it was too heavy on one side.”

• Gift of exhortation: “ Next time, maybe you should let someone else carry it.”

• Gift of giving: “Here, you can have my dessert.”

• Gift of mercy: “Don’t feel too bad. It could have happened to anyone.”

• Gift of administration:  “Jim, would you get the mop? Sue, please help pick this up. Mary, could
you get him another dessert?”

We laugh and we can all identify who has which gift, but isn’t it true that when we work together,
each of us doing our own thing, we are better for it?  The truth is that the church that functions
best is the one where every member is serving and doing what God has equipped them to do. The
problem is that sometimes pride gets in the way. And Paul doesn’t shy away from speaking to it.
He reminds them that each one who has made a commitment to Christ is a valuable member of the
body of Christ.

Look at the person sitting next to you. Say to them, “you are a member of the body of Christ.”
We may look different, talk different, come from different backgrounds, but we have one thing in
common:  We belong to Jesus. He called us by name and invited us to come and serve alongside
him in the church. Each one of us is unique in that our experience broadens the collective
experience of the body and helps us to be able to do even more in the world around us.
•        I think about the young adults we recognized this morning. A few weeks ago I listened as
Laura Dowding sang at the Virtu Art Fair. She has a real gift for making music. Some day we may
be singing her songs in worship or to the radio. Who knows how many lives she may touch with
the refrain to her songs?
•        Evan is heading off to United States Military Academy at West Point. Someday he will be
leading the call for freedom and his actions may contribute to a victory for democracy and
freedom. His athletic ability, faith  and his intellect will put him in a position to lead and that will be a
good thing for the people he leads.
•        The same may be true for Veronica as she heads off to Fort Jackson to begin a career in the
army. Only God knows what important role she will play in safeguarding our freedoms and
protecting our shores in the years ahead. She has a heart for people and that will play a part in
where she goes and what she does.
•        Scott is heading off to Wake Forest University. He has a winning smile and he is gifted in so
many areas. I am sure that God will use his talents whether it be in finance and economic to clean
up the mess that congress has given us or in medicine as he seeks a cure for what ails us.
•        Someday we might be reading about Alyssa when they announce the Nobel Peace Prize for
her discovery in biological sciences that lead to a cure for AIDS or puts an end once and for all to
cancer. God has called her, just as he calls each of us to be part of something bigger than we can
even dream about.

The good news is that we don’t have to be the person sitting next to us. Turn the person next you
and say, “I am glad I am not you!” Well that didn’t sound right did it?
Regardless, the good news is that each of us has our own calling in the body. Each of us is called
to something big, something where we can make a difference in God’s plan.

•        Some of us are lips.  We go out and share the gospel.  We teach the Bible.  We proclaim
words of justice.
•        Some of us are hands.  We go out and feed the hungry.  We reach out to those who are
mourning. We go and build shelter for the homeless.
•        Some of us are ears. We listen to those in pain. We hear the voice of the oppressed. We wait
quietly for the voice of God. We hear the music of the angels.
•        Some of us are the feet.  We travel the mission fields. We visit the elderly and the downcast.
•        Some are the bowels.  We are the peacemakers and we work to rid the body of strife and
trouble.
•        Some are the eyes.  We see the injustice. We see the racism. We see the hurt and pain and
alert
the body.

The truth is that every part of the body, when it is functioning properly, makes the body complete.
It is a good thing that we are’nt all alike. Paul says, imagine if we were all ears. Imagine if we were
all eyes. Imagine if we were all feet. Boy that would stink…

The truth is that you and I were called to be part of the body, inside and outside the church so that
God’s will could be done and he could be glorified. That is the big picture we often lose sight of.
Sometimes we look at what others are doing with a critical eye and cast judgment because they are
doing something we have little interest in.  I have to confess that I am not into the ecological
movement.  Global warming and climate change is not my hot button issue. But hear this.  I am not
an ear.  I am glad that people like Pastor Tom Carr of West Hartford feels called to be a prophet in
this matter. I am glad that there are programs sponsored by our sister churches that address our
stewardship of the environment.  They provide the mouth for this issue that is dear to God’s heart.
In the local church some people work out of the food pantry. Others sing in the choir and lift up
God’s praises. Some come down during the week and fold the newsletters.  Others prepare meals
for fellowship events.  Some stand at the door and greet all who enter.  Some cook meals for the
homeless. Others work on Habitat and church building projects and some even will go on a mission
trip.  

I don’t know why we try to lift up some and put down others, but Paul reminds us that each
person’s call to service is important in that it makes the body whole.

For you see, we are called together for a purpose. That purpose is to be the body of Christ in the
world today.  We need every part of the body to make us whole.  Just as Jesus walked the earth
and he taught and he healed and he praised God and he built bridges between races and tribes, and
he brought classes together…. So are we called to do the same thing.  
If we are in Christ, then we are part of the same body.

On Friday night we brought together a group of folks from several churches in a service of
Prayer.  And although we worship on Sunday in different buildings, when it came time to pray and
praise God, we all got down on our knees and praised the same God. For a few moments on one
night in June, the body came together as God intended.

You may think that what you do doesn’t matter. But it does. Look at the person next to you and
say, “You matter to me and to God!"
In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he
should leave to the townspeople. At last he decided to build them a church.

No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they
marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, “But where are the lamps? How will
they be lighted?”

The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave each family a lamp that they
were to bring with them each time they came to worship.

“Each time you are here the area where you are seated will be lighted,” the nobleman said. “Each
time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come
to church, some part of God’s house will be dark.”

You and I were created for something Big. We are kingdom builders. It is our calling to find a place
to serve the Lord. It may be in the church as an officer, as a teacher or musician or greeter.  It may
be outside the church as an advocate for the poor, as a public servant, as a nurse or teacher or in
some other capacity that only you can fulfill. Whatever the case, seize the day and take the
opportunity to serve the Lord and see what happens.

Fingers are nice.  But when the hand comes together it provides the strength and power to
accomplish God’s will. So let us rejoice in our calling to be a part of the body of Christ. Let us
rejoice that when the call to serve comes, we can answer and take our place alongside the others
who he has called.  Look at the people around you. For we are one in the body of Christ and we are
created for something big.