Ephesians 4:15-16 say2012-09-10_18-42-47_556s; “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

This passage is talking about each and every one of us. We are the body of Christ. We are his hands and feet, eyes and ears, mouth and heart. If one piece is missing, the whole body suffers. But when we stand together, using our individual God given gifts, we are stronger than anything and able to do the will of God in this world.

I am reminded of the giant Sequoia trees in California. These are some of the largest, most majestic trees found in the world. They can grow over 300 feet tall! What I didn’t know is that they have some of the shallowest root systems of trees. With a height of 300 feet, I would have thought they would have a much deeper root system, keeping them from falling over in the strong winds. What helps them, is that the root system they have is intertwined with all of the other trees. This strengthens their base and keeps them from being effected by the wind. But they need each other in order for this to happen. If they are left alone, they would topple over in the slightest breeze.

We too, need each other in order to accomplish God’s plan for this world. We are all part of that plan and we help in bringing the Kingdom here on earth. But we need everyone to stick together and work together, otherwise we would be like a big Sequoia getting blown over. We each have God given gifts that we can use and those are not the same as our family or neighbors. So how will you use your gifts? Do you know what they are?

There was a couple who didn’t have a lot of money, but they wanted to get in the Christmas spirit one year and thought they could afford a Christmas tree. They walked down to the town tree lot and proceeded to shop for a tree, but they quickly realized that they couldn’t afford one. All of the trees were way out of their budget. But then they notice a tree sitting off to the side that no one was interested in. When they stood it up, they saw that it really was only a half a tree. There were no branches or needles on one side. The salesman told them they could have it for a couple of dollars because “no one else was going to want it.”

They caught a glimpse of another tree close by and asked about that one too. It also had needles on only one side. The salesman said “sure, you can them both for five dollars.” The tree lot owner was walking in town a little later that night and passed by the couple’s house. He saw in the window, this beautiful tree, round, full, and lit up with lights. He had to know, did they go to another tree lot and find a different tree? So, he went to the door and knocked. The couple answered the door and told him that they didn’t get another tree. They assured him that this tree was in fact, the two trees they bought from him earlier. They brought them home and wired the trunks together. When put as one, you could only see one trunk, one tree, even though it was two.

We are like those trees. We are the body of Christ, woven together, complete with all of us using the gifts that we have been given. But if we try to go it alone, people will not see the full picture. They will not experience the risen Christ. We need to show this world what it means to live as Jesus did. We are called to use our gifts so that we can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor, and free the oppressed.

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. You are called, and God is equipping you. Will you answer the call and participate in God’s kingdom?