We live in a consumer society in the UK. Retailers are told, ‘The customer is always right’. This may well be good customer relations, but it also breeds within us an expectation that others are only there to meet our needs and satisfy our demands. .

This is a dangerous attittude to bring to church life, where God expects each one of us to contribute and not simply consume. Paul said, ‘When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.’ (1 Cor 14:12) He says, ‘be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, humns and songs from the Spirit.’ (Eph 5:18-19) In another letter, he says, ‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.’ (Col 3:16) The benefits of this contributor mentality are made explicit: ‘so that the church may be built up.’ (1 Cor 14:21)

Let’s be contributors, not simply consumers: people who participate and build each other up, for our gifts and talents are all necessary and can be used by God for the edification of the church.