Dear Father, let the words of joy and truth in the gospel resonate in my heart with new fervor today.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-31
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[b]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Love Is Indispensable
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Praise God for the church all over the world. Thank him that, despite all its faults, he loves the church, for it is Christ’s body.
A harassed manager was once asked, ‘How many people work in your department?’ The manager replied, ‘About half of them.’ In the church, all of us have work to do. This is part of the privilege of Christian discipleship. God calls us to join with him in his purposes for the church and, through it, the growth of his kingdom. Everyone has a part to play.
Paul develops the metaphor of the human body to illustrate how Christ’s body, the church, works. The key is to see the interconnections and interdependency. For example, in a human body, the eye needs the hand and vice versa. They both need the feet and the feet need them (v 21). To think otherwise would be absurd. Yet how often in churches do certain gifted people believe that those with less obvious gifts are not necessary and try and go it alone? How often do others hang back, embarrassed that their gifts don’t seem as important as someone else’s?
For all to use their gifts to serve others is obvious, but let’s go further. How often does the deep concern for others that permeates verses 25 and 26 characterize us? There it is again: that term ‘each other’. With pride and selfishness a problem at Corinth, the apostle strikes this note repeatedly. We need to hear this challenge today when individualism can be all-pervasive. Paul goes on to place emphasis on ‘those parts of the body that seem to be weaker’ (v 22). We often court the person with the more noticeable gifts, but Paul says those with ‘weaker’ giftings are ‘indispensable’. This is because God’s judgment on what is important is often different to ours, but also because the way such people are treated is an acid test of the church’s love. How are you contributing to the health of the body?
Do you see anyone in your church whose gift is being neglected? How can you encourage them?
Prince of Peace, give me a new awareness of the great dangers of division within our church family. May there be unity as we declare your glory to the world.
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