Every year my family makes the trip alongside my in-laws to the sandy beaches of Destin, Florida. Sometime after we arrive, between the unloading of vehicles and divvying up of rooms, an opened jigsaw puzzle finds its way to an unclaimed table. As the week progresses so does the puzzle. Bit by bit the puzzle pile diminishes as the pieces find their partners in the crowd until every piece has made its connection and the puzzle becomes complete.
In many ways the church is like that pile of puzzle pieces. Paul refers to us as “members of the body” (1 Cor. 12:12). Like puzzle pieces, each Christian represents a part of the whole and just as puzzle pieces come together to make a beautiful picture so too members, when they find their place in the body, create the church that God intends for us to be. Just like puzzles though, there can be difficulty in finding where the pieces fit. To that end the Bible encourages us to…
Be humble (Eph. 4:2) – Finding our place requires submission to the role God has given us, not the role we want to fulfill.
Be gentle (Eph. 4:2) – If you’ve ever tried to smash a puzzle piece into a place it doesn’t belong than you understand this point. It is gentleness, not anger, that helps people find where they belong.
Be patient (Eph. 4:2) – The process of finding your place takes time. Take the time to understand where you fit in and allow others to take the time to find that place.
Be loving (Eph. 4:2) – We’re all in this together, our attitudes towards one another must reflect that.
The outside of any jigsaw puzzle shows the builder what the finished product should look like. So too, the Bible shows us what the church, God’s body, is too look like. Practice humility, gentleness, patience, and love as we put the pieces together and fulfill that vision.