The word backbone is really a misnomer because it refers to the spine which has 33 bones called vertebrae. It is a very complex part of our anatomy which science divides into 4 parts. However for this article we will only use 3 parts—the upper, middle and lower “backbone” in order to compare it to our spiritual walk. Somehow it has come to signify courage or strength which would be an interesting etymology study in itself.
As the spine supports the torso in the vertical position, so the Lord’s church supports the truth and is also called “…God’s household…and the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Tim 3: 15)
The upper part of this pillar would be made up of those who are most visible, vocal and visionary—usually the elders, deacons, teachers and other leaders. Their roles are ones that people know and recognize. They are probably known by name.
The middle part would have members who are sacrificial, social and serving. They uphold the “one another” verses that New Testament Christians are supposed to do. They might be greeters, ushers, people who set up and clean up before and after events, helpers of those who move in or out of houses, visitors of the sick and many other tasks. They plan and execute special events like VBS, Mission Possible, gospel meetings, chili suppers and other meals. They visit the sick, help people get to worship services and print and distribute the bulletin and other materials. You may or may not know their names, but you’ll recognize and appreciate their smiles.
The lower part of the pillar would be the members who are humble, helpful and habitual. You may not know their names because they are most often silent servants. They may be widows, widowers, singles and just shy people. They support the church by attending, encouraging, providing rides to appointments, sending cards, making calls, listening to and informing elders of special needs, contributing financial support and prayer.
All three of these “backbone” parts are greatly needed to allow God’s household to stand tall in the world in which we live. It demands courage and strength and everyday commitment. No matter your role, God has a reward for you. (Heb 6:10)