How many times in life have you asked the question, “Who’s in charge?” In virtually every social structure we know today, there is a hierarchy of order. Trying to deny it makes for a difficult time. Arguing about this hierarchy or protesting about it really just leads to individual frustration. Families have parents, gangs have a leader, schoolrooms have a teacher, a school has a principal and schools have a superintendent who, in turn has a Board of Education. Sports teams have coaches or managers with a management structure above them. Corporations have CEO’s and CEO’s are accountable to a Board of Directors who, in turn, are accountable to the stockholders. Governments have Presidents, Governors, Mayors, etc. I think you get the point. Look around and ask the question, “Who’s in charge?” and someone is sure to answer.
The Church is no exception to this hierarchy of order. The Presbyterian Church (USA) has it’s own structure as well. At the local church level there are pastors who “report” to the session. The local church is part of a Presbytery or grouping of churches by geography. Presbyteries belong to Synods and all the Synods are part of the General Assembly. However…through all the structuring comes an important reality that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Like all social structures there are things that cause decay and begin eroding the structure itself. Things like power, greed, selfishness, jealousy and so many others.
Our passage from Ephesians tells us clearly that, when it comes to the Church, Jesus is in charge. One of the things that makes me cringe is when I hear people talk about “my church”. Now I know pretty much what they mean and it is good intentioned. But, “my church” can begin the slippery slope of decay. Paul takes this head on by telling us to have a proper perspective on our individual and collective place within the body of Christ…the Church. Each one of us has a role to live out in Jesus’ Church…with one and only one outcome…that when we are all doing our part the Church of Jesus Christ grows and builds up in love.