“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Dr. John Eckrich, founder of Grace Place Wellness Ministries and physician

Smartphones and community

Even in ministry, we are called to serve in a community as part of the community we serve. We are a link in the chain of many. We are equipped with special gifts and skills, but we need others to get the job done well.

Because we work as members of the Body of Christ, we need all the relational skills we can muster to serve effectively.

This doesn’t diminish the power of the Holy Spirit within God’s people. The Spirit energizes and empowers all on the team; the Spirit works, guides and inspires according to God’s will.

Just like with smartphones, there may be dropped communication, interface issues, or misinterpretations.

Jesus finds teaching and learning situations in all interpersonal communications.

In Matthew 9, Jesus asks questions and stays curious in a difficult situation:

“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’

“At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, ‘This fellow is blaspheming!’ Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’

“So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’ Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man.” (Matt. 9:1–8)

God sends his Holy Spirit to guide and lead us as we communicate as well.

We won’t be perfect like Jesus, but — in our forgiven identity as children of God, loved and saved by the Son — we can always be learning in Him.

We live loving and forgiving, loved and forgiven in this Body we serve in together.

Grace Place Wellness was founded in 1999 by Dr. John D. Eckrich. He served the St. Louis community, including Lutheran church workers and their families, as an internist and gastroenterologist for more than 35 years. Dr. Eckrich is the author of Vocation and Wellness: Renew Your Energy for Christian Living. He and his wife, Kathy, have three grown children and live in the St. Louis area.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.