Here’s a true-life parable about he meaning of membership. When I was five years old, we moved a little bit further into the suburbs. And not far away was a neighborhood pool. I really liked to swim, and it was right there for the taking. But there was a problem: we weren’t members. To get in, my parents had to be willing to sign up and cough up some money.
After so many years of politely asking, quickly followed by constant badgering, high-pitched yelling and screaming from yours truly, they joined. They signed the papers and paid the price. In return, we were given cards to prove that we were members.
From that point on, starting at 9:00 AM on Memorial Day weekend until 9:00 PM on Labor Day, I was in a constant state of going to the pool, being at the pool, and coming home from the pool. I’d hop on my bike, hopefully before mom had a chance to think about the chores I had failed to do, and headed to the pool.
When I showed up at the front gate, I showed my card and walked in.
Meaning of Membership
After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
I was a member. And being a member made certain things true.
Members have agreements – To become members, there must be some rules, some agreements on what each other will do, and won’t do. This means that there are some limits and boundaries that both have said yes to.
Members have relationships – What happens to one member affects the other members, they are connected to each other, they are never total strangers. A relationship means people are related, connected to one another.
Members have partnerships – They are part of one another and work together towards common goals, common objectives, for their common good. A partner doesn’t do it all, they do their part while someone else also does their part.
Members have privileges – there are certain things that only members can do, they have rights, privileges, and responsibilities not available to just anyone. A privilege is just that, a benefit not available to just anyone
When you follow Jesus, you become a member of his forever family, his church, the Body of Christ. There isn’t a way to opt out from this. There isn’t a second step, additional requirements, or fees. It’s a package deal.