The hymn, “The Call for Workers,” opens with this line, “In the vineyard of the Lord there is work for all to do.” In the US military, for every front-line combat soldier there are numerous other service members working behind them to ensure the success of the mission. One tactic of warfare is to cut off the supply lines to front line troops. Without the vital support of those behind the front lines, the soldiers cannot sustain themselves.
As a gospel preacher, I have the glory job, the high-profile job everyone sees. Like a quarterback in football, I get too much credit when things are going well (and perhaps too much blame when they aren’t!). I have been in full time ministry for nearly 30 years and am in my 24th at my present work. I well know and appreciate the incredible contributions made by faithful men and women behind the scenes. Whatever success “I” may have is due to faithful soldiers of the cross who work in the shadows, unseen, and far too often, unappreciated by the masses.
Church members need to be consistently reminded of the importance of their presence and work to the success of the local church. Though we do not labor for the praise or reward of men (Col 3:23-24), it is always encouraging when our efforts, no matter how feeble we perceive them to be, are recognized and appreciated. Just a pat on the back or word of thanks and recognition are all some need to continue to fight the good fight of the faith.
We need to recognize and appreciate the value of every member of the body. This works in two directions. First, Paul notes that those who believe their contribution is unimportant should reevaluate that position. To paraphrase verses 14-15, ‘Just because you are not the preacher, does that mean your work is not needed?’ Just because you are not a teacher, does that make you unimportant?’
Then it also cuts the other way. The highly visible parts cannot say to the others, “I have no need of you,” for every member of the body is necessary (vv 20-22).
The life and success of the church could not be as God intended without the efficient function of every member of the body, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (v 12).