If you enjoy putting puzzles together, nothing is more frustrating than getting almost done with a puzzle only to find that a piece is missing. What a letdown! No matter what, that puzzle will always be incomplete. There is no substitute for the missing piece. Even if you were to go and buy the exact same puzzle and get the piece you were missing out for the puzzle you put together, the puzzle you took it from would be incomplete. One piece is indispensible for the complete picture that a puzzle creates.
Likewise, you have something I need. Without you, my picture will not be perfect. Without you, there will be a piece missing. If you are reading this, you are a piece of the puzzle that is my life and I yours. With every interaction we have in life, we become a piece of another person’s puzzle. And those pictures combine together to create an even bigger picture.
My boys once put together a puzzle shaped like an elephant. The elephant was made out of hundreds of smaller pictures of other animals. So, not only was the puzzle itself a picture, but within that picture were other pictures. Therefore, a missing piece not only affects the puzzle as a whole, but it also affects all the individual pictures that combine to make up the whole picture.
We all have our own puzzles that are our lives. Each of our lives also combines to create a larger picture. For the Christian, that is the body of Christ. The absence of any one piece and the picture is incomplete. The absence of any person and the whole picture is marred by the gaping hole much like a missing piece stands out in an otherwise-completed puzzle.
A body of believers (often called a church body) works the same way as a puzzle. Every individual in the body is a crucial piece for the complete picture. In the 12th chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul writes that “for even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” In other words, we are all integral parts of the whole, which is the body of Christ. Each part has a specific function with a different purpose. We must avoid thinking we are the most important part, but we also must not think we are unimportant either. Instead of comparing one part to another, each part must fulfill its own purpose and must also work together to create a cohesive unit that glorifies Christ.
When a piece of the puzzle is missing in the body of Christ, there is a void that cannot be filled. While that does not mean that the work of Christ won’t ultimately be accomplished, because we know it will, it does mean that it will go forth differently than if that void was filled by the piece created to go in that space. God created each person to play a role in His will with each role being unique and able to be filled by only one person. If you don’t place yourself into the pile of pieces, you can’t become a part of the puzzle and the puzzle essentially can never be completed.
How does this transfer into specific activity? Well, there are three basic steps for helping to complete the puzzle.
- Make sure the edge is complete. This means attending a full-gospel, Bible believing church.
- Organize the middle pieces. Submit to the structure of leadership. Let them direct the pieces.
- Work away diligently. Get in and row the boat. Commit to being a part of the larger picture.
Life is so much bigger than any one person, but each person plays a part in making life complete. No one has all the pieces alone; we all need each other to complete the puzzle. Church is a commitment by each of the individual pieces. God will make room for your gifts and talents in the church, but you have to make sure you are a willing piece of the puzzle. We are each a piece of the puzzle of God’s will within the larger picture of the church. We all need to be in the box together, ready to complete the picture.