When I think of service to the church, or to God, I think of the jobs and evangelism opportunities that exist around the church. I had never considered this aspect of service to the church that Bonhoeffer brings up in Life Together:

Is the invisible presence of the Christian fellowhip a reality and a help to the individual? Do the intercessions of others carry him through the day? Is the Word of God close to him as a comfort and a strength? Or does he misuse his aloneness contrary to the fellowship, the Word, and the prayer? The individual must realize that his hours of aloneness react upon the community. In his solitude he can sunder and besmirch the fellowship, or he can strengthen and hallow it. Every act of self-control of the Christian is also a service to the fellowship” (Bonhoeffer, 1954, pp. 88-89).

The more I consider and meditate on this paragraph, the more I see how it is true. If I live a more rebellious life outside the church, when I am with the body, that attitude will translate into how I interact with the members of the church. But if I’m walking in the Lord throughout the intervening days, when I’m with the body, I will be more attune to God and more able to say the right word someone needs, or have a more supportive mindset as I interact with them.

In todays world, we love to think our actions don’t affect those around us. But that really isn’t the case, is it? That’s the current lie of Satan.

— Bonhoeffer, D. (1954). Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. New York, NY: HarperCollins.