A curious thing happens when you make tea, and then sweeten it. In the case of instant tea, you take plain water, put in instant tea, which becomes dissolved into the water, but the water itself is changed, too; it has a new color. Then you may add sugar, and the sugar becomes dissolved into the substance, the color does not change, but the taste does.
I think this can be used in an analogy about what happens when people unite with the church. Every new person affects the body of the church, and the church affects the new person coming into the church--that is, if everything works out as it should. Sugar that would not dissolve into a substance would produce no sweetening and tea that would not dissolve would not change the color. I think in the church we need to recognize that we have effect only as we are willing to give up our own identity and become a part of the larger body.
At the same time, we need to recognize that in this process we are going to make an effect on that body. Certain changes will begin to occur within that body because we become a part of it.
The recognition on our part of the importance of all the ingredients in any substance is essential. In sweetened tea, for instance, which ingredient is most important? The water is extremely important, or would you like to mix the tea and sugar and eat it, and maybe take a drink after awhile! The tea is important, if color and taste makes a difference. You can get by on water by itself, but the additional taste makes life a little richer. Then what about the sugar? It's sweet, has a good many calories, you can take it or leave it -- but it sure is a lot sweeter when it is included.
Making tea is a simple process while building churches is much more complex -- but in both every ingredient is important -- every part has some effect on the rest of it -- but what the end result will be is really dependent upon the maker, not on the ingredients. The maker decides the strength of the tea, the amount of sweetener used, etc.
I believe that if all of us can look upon ourselves as ingredients in the hands of the master Jesus Christ, and if we are willing to be dissolved into his body realizing that the body will change us and we will change the body, then He will direct us wisely into a fine product in life. God bless you.