Thursday, July 17, 2008

All one body

1 Cor. 12:14-26 (ESV)
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. [15] If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. [16] And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. [17] If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? [18] But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. [19] If all were a single member, where would the body be? [20] As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
[21] The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Paul uses the body as an illustration for how the Church should relate to each other. We’re all needed in the Church. All of us. We all play our own part. We may not even realize what it is we are doing for the Church. We may not know what it is someone else is doing for the Church. We may think they do nothing, or not enough. People who do a lot for the church often get tired, like feet at the end of a ten mile run. They need a break. Yet they can’t seem to be able to do it. I don’t mean they need a break from the church. But sometimes it is good to step back from the doing around the church, even if there isn’t anyone else to do what you do. Put your feet up, and soak in the Gospel.
Sometimes there is a sense of frustration because we don’t feel we have accomplished anything ourselves. None of us do. The pastor is the mouth of the congregation, he gets a lot of face time, often times he is given credit for the things happening in the church. If attendance is up, the pastor gets the credit. Conversely if it is down, he gets the blame. New sanctuary, new parking lot, new location? The pastor will get the credit invariably. But this maybe shouldn’t be so. The truth is the pastor is only the mouth. When new members come into the church, the pastor may be the one who talked to them, persuaded them with his preaching, but it was the congregation supporting him with all their gifts, time, and encouragement. Of course, the ultimate cause is the Holy Spirit, but he works through all of us together, not as individuals, but as a congregation, as a body. So if one member suffers we all suffer, and if one is honored, we all rejoice.

3 comments:

Bryan said...

Good thoughts here, brother.

How fun it is in the church to complain about everybody else's lack of doing things. Yet we all do it. But how cancerous that false spirit can be to what we actually can do together through "each supporting ligament". Paul's encouragement here is so very helpful. Thanks.

apollo819 said...

Noticed Tuesday you mentioned,(spiritual), gifts.
Have been a Lutheran all my life. I now look for trinity based Bible studies like I use to look for bars and nightclubs.
Sat in on one where we did a test on "Spiritual Gifts". What is your feeling on such tests, and is it that your gift will develop as grow in Christ's Holy Spirit?

Bror Erickson said...

apollo819,

Personally I avoid Bible studies that try to figure out what my "spiritual" gifts are. I had to endure one once. It was very painful. There is only so much self-righteouseness, and glorying in the self a person can take (at least for others.) But of course, I think ones faith grows by the work of the Holy Spirit, and the same could probably be said of whatever gifts one has been given. I just wouldn't worry about it too much, which means none at all. Much better to dwell on the cross.