Lots of wonderful work is done by faithful preachers and members behind the scenes. They check on the sick and weak, make sure people are fed and cared for, invite people to worship, and teach the gospel every chance they get. They are the “rocks” of the local church. Without them, churches would be devastated.
But we all know how quickly circumstances can change. Preachers who once were strong can venture into error or commit immorality. Members who were best friends can suddenly be at each other’s throats. People can be fickle — a fact that Solomon said was “vanity and grasping for wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:13-16).
The point is that doing your work for the local church has the potential to end in sadness and frustration. So don’t do your work for the church; do your work for Christ. Paul understood this, for while he had “deep concern for all the churches”, he was foremost a “minister of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:22, 28).
I’m not arguing in any way that you should cease your good work for others. I’m suggesting that you see all that you do (for the household of faith and for all men) as your appropriate service to God (1 Samuel 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:58). That way, when difficult times come in a congregation, you won’t be tempted to quit, but you’ll realize that your good work is done for Christ, not the church.