Working class Christians. You don’t see them at church events held during the week. Some of them might be serving once a month in a low involvement ministry. Many of them used to be fervent Christians in their teens but seem to be caught up with their own life now. Work, houses, cars, children and hobbies seem to take up so much of their time that God takes the backseat. Church is thrown in the boot.
The working class Christian is often disregarded as unspiritual. They are labelled as bench warmers or sleeping christians. They are shunned as worldly, uninvolved in the work of the church and overly comfortable in life. They seem to have lost their first love for Christ and are more concerned with secular work.
The story sounds different when you ask many (not all) working class Christians. They would say that they are trying to glorify God in their workplace, reach out to their collegues and be a positive influence in their various companies. Some of them are workplace evangalist and pastors, spreading the good news over cups of coffee and email. Their main contribution in the church might not be time and effort, but finance.
So why aren’t some in the church more thankful of people like that? What is this disgruntled mumbling about working class Christians not doing their bit?
Wiktionary defines it as “Any practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of the church than on theology and spiritual teachings; The quality of being too church-focused.”
The church is God’s vehicle of choice for advancing His kingdom, but we forget that the church is God’s people. The church is ordinary people, in their ordinary lives, doing their ordinary jobs but with the extraordinary Spirit. Church happens when people come together on a Sunday, but also when they go out on a Monday.
I was speaking to a pastor friend of mine months ago and he shared with me a problem in his church. “No one wants to go out and work in the secular job, too many young people want to serve the church”, he says. What a strange phenomenon. It isn’t hard to see that working class Christians have a place in the church – right beside the pastors who work in the church, the students who make learning their work, retirees who enjoy the fruits of their work and housemakers who work in their homes.
So are we Christians or Churchians?
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
What Paul says there, he says to each person individually. I am not to think “I am everything”; I play a part in a bigger picture. I am not to think “I am nothing”; I have a gift and function in the body. These verses explain themselves. It sounds like a simple solution to a complex problem in the church. But that is exactly what it is. Do what it says and we will start to see others in a whole new light.
What strikes me about this passage is when he says “each member belongs to all the others”.
Think about that.
When we say that something “belongs”, it depicts possession, natural affinity and acceptance.
We belong to each other.