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Solving a Puzzle: the Power of "Together"
A jigsaw puzzle offers a wonderful illustration of the Body of Christ.

"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' … On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable … Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:21-27).

A jigsaw puzzle is always in progress on the dining room table at our home. Beautiful pictures come into being, one little bit at a time, as the thousands of interlocking shapes find their proper place, thanks to the eagle eye of my wife Diana, an avid aficionado of jigsaw puzzles. In them I see a wonderful illustration of the Body of Christ:

1. Vision: The picture on the jigsaw box illustrates the potential inside. Like that cover, the Scriptures give us an amazing vision of the impact that each local church can have on the world when it is functioning properly. May we catch a new vision of the lasting difference for God that we can make in Canada when we cooperate and work together!

2. Opportunity: Every jigsaw box comes with all the pieces you will need to put the picture together. In the same way God has placed within the Church all the gifts, talents, abilities and resources for us to accomplish His purposes. While teaching recently in Latin America I was thrilled at the impact their Churches have on society—all done by passionate believers with few resources, yet they had all that they needed. In Canada we too have "all the pieces" to make a desperately needed difference.

3. Leadership: Like most others, when Diana starts a puzzle she looks for the corners, then the sides and after that she fills in the middle. There is a great need for godlier leadership in the Church—for visionaries, who like the corners in the puzzle, will take the first step and be the anchors for the rest. But when a puzzle is completed no one ever says: "Boy, what great corners." That is because, while leadership is vital, ultimately every piece is equally important to complete the whole.

4. Value: Have you ever been frustrated to discover that one puzzle piece is missing? It doesn't matter that you have the other 999 pieces because all you will see when you look at the "completed" puzzle is the hole left by the missing piece. The application is obvious. For the Church in Canada to reverse the current trend away from God and from low Church attendance, we will have to act differently. It will take all of us working together.

5. Power: As a child my dad made us jigsaw puzzles from old calendar pictures glued onto plywood and cut on a scroll saw. From him I learned that the test of a good puzzle was to be able to lift it up by the corners to see if it would hang together. When the pieces were well cut they would fit perfectly and each one would hold up the other. Here another great picture of the body of Christ—Christ's love will do this. During the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada's Celebrations, the secular media was most amazed at how much churches accomplished when supporting one another.

David MacFarlane is the director of National Initiatives with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

Originally published in the EFC's National Initiatives Newsletter, July 2006.




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