When I was a boy, I enjoyed putting jigsaw puzzles together, especially in the winter when it was too cold to play outside, which I always preferred. Until recently, it had been years since I put a jigsaw puzzle together. With a little girl who is nearly four, I have had several opportunities to help with Dora and Diego puzzles and Minnie too. Most of the time, with a few minutes of effort my daughter’s puzzle comes together, creating a colorful picture of Dora with her map and Boots walking through the woods. Usually, my daughter is delighted with the finished project and just as excited to disassemble it as well!
From my perspective, the biggest problem with jigsaw puzzles isn’t the time that it takes to put them together though I am certainly reluctant at the thought of assembling a 1000 piece puzzle! The real problem with jigsaw puzzles is those pieces that inevitably disappear. No matter how careful I was as a boy, it always seemed as if a piece or two or three vanished. I could look under the table, in the cushions of the couch, under the recliner, but no sign of the missing pieces.
Why am I taking the time to write about jigsaw puzzles? Because a jigsaw puzzle is a picture of the way a church should work. Each piece of the puzzle is important in the ultimate goal. What is the ultimate goal of the church? The church is meant to reveal the glory of God (Ephesians 3:10-11). When each member is in place, walking with God and serving Him, the puzzle comes together beautifully, and God’s glory is displayed in the church.
The apostle Paul compared the church to our human bodies, “So the body is not one part but many” (1 Cor 12:14). He reminded the Corinthian church of the importance of each part, “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body. So the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Cor 12:18-21).
Each member of the church is important to the ultimate goal of displaying God’s glory. What happens when pieces of the puzzle are missing? With merely a glance at a jigsaw puzzle that has missing pieces, our attention is drawn immediately to what is absent, and the beauty of the intended scene is missed. In our own church, this underscores the importance of meaningful membership. To be the church that God has called us to be, we need each member to attend regularly, to walk close to Christ, and to serve faithfully. In this way, we will most accurately display the truth about who God is.
Missing members leave gaps and holes. What about you? If you are a church member, are you fulfilling your role in the body by faithfully attending and serving? Or are you one of those missing pieces? If so, I encourage you to jump back in. Let’s quit looking for reasons to stay out of the picture, and let’s fill in those gaps. Let’s display God’s awesome glory to a watching world!