I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn't. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," said Lucy. "Individually they're nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." To which Linus replied, "Which channel do you want?" Turning away, he looked at his fingers and said, "Why can't you guys get organized like that?"
I wonder if God doesn't look down at the church sometimes and ask the same question. See, Jesus had a specific plan in mind when He created the church; It wasn't to be a collection of people going about their own business, following their own agenda. The church was designed from the start to combine all of the different gifts and callings of the people that are in the church to work together to accomplish a mission. Check out what Paul wrote just a few verses later:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
Paul listed five different callings, five different offices in the church, with the intent that they work together to accomplish a specific set of objectives:
...for the work of ministry ...for the edifying (strengthening) of the body of Christ ...till we all come to the unity of the faith ...and of the knowledge of the Son of God ...to a perfect man. to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
If those of us in the church are only focused on our goals, if we're only working on our plan, there's no way going to accomplish this mission that we're been assigned.
But if we're willing to pool our gifts, our talents, our time, and our resources, together we're a formidable force to behold. And that's part of the primary mission of the church, not only to share the gospel with the world, but also to build up and strengthen the church (read, you and I!), so that we're a unified force that's able to penetrate the darkness of our city, tear down walls of resistance to the gospel, and break people out of the bondage of sin.
We know that twelve men changed the world; Imagine what one hundred people could do in a town, or what one thousand could do in a city.
"Lord, help me to be one with my local church, so that my gifts and calling can be unified with others to make a difference in our town."