Back in the days when people frequently traveled by train, Leon C. Burns drew a very important analogy using the railroad tickets that were purchased in those days. He pointed out that a coupon was attached to each ticket, which read, “Not good if detached.” That meant that the ticketholder could not get anywhere if his coupon was detached.
These days, it is not uncommon to find believers who just don’t want to get involved. Some of them are honest about it: “I believe in God, but I don’t go to church.” Others sit on pews every Sunday, but they are just as irrelevant as the people who sleep in on Sundays, because they do not use their abilities in the service of God’s kingdom. The Lord is not pleased with detached Christians. In the words of Brother Burns, “You might be on the train, but when the conductor comes around for the tickets, you will have to get off.”
How can a detached Christian get involved? First, he should examine himself. The church is a body comprised of individual members operating in different ways. Each one of these members is functional and important, for “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Cor. 12:18). Before a Christian can get involved in the work of his local congregation, he must discover his special opportunities and talents. A good question to ask oneself is, “How has God arranged me in the body?” Everyone can do something for the Lord. Sometimes it takes a little digging to find out what you do best, but the answer is there.
After examining himself, the next thing a detached Christian should do to get involved is examine his congregation. Every church is unique because it is set in a unique location and it consists of a unique membership. A common mistake that new members often make is assuming that their new congregation is just like the one they moved from. A great deal of frustration and misunderstanding could be avoided by eliminating this presupposition. We should study the congregation where we currently serve to see if we can identify needs that correspond to our special opportunities and talents.
Involvement is a responsibility God has placed upon every member of the Lord’s body. Paul instructed the Corinthians, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). Churches in which twenty percent of the members do all the work do not grow. In the words of Donald M. Kimball, “There’s no place where success comes before work, except in the dictionary.”