Saturday, October 1, 2005

We're All Important Parts of the Body of Christ

Someone in my life recently parted ways with me. This is someone who wasn’t out to get credit for the important things he did. Actually, I scarcely even knew he existed. It wasn’t until after his departure that I realized the quiet but crucial way he had helped me. He did something specific which nobody else could have done, even if they tried. And he didn’t try to be anyone else, either. He simply faithfully did what God had created him to do.

I have to let you in on something. I’m not really talking about a person, but actually a part of my body - my gallbladder - which was surgically removed! This unseen part of my body worked faithfully along with all the other parts of my body to keep me healthy, until some problems developed and I had to say bye-bye to the friend I never even realized I had.

Our bodies are made up of all kinds of parts which all work for the good of the body as a whole. I’m no expert in areas of anatomy, physiology, biology, histology and whatever other “ologies” there are, so I admit that I don’t know a whole lot about the complex workings of the human body. What I do know is that a single body doesn’t work properly without many different parts working together. The Bible uses the human body as a symbol of the church, with many parts (individual Christians) making up the “body of Christ.” Some people in Christ’s body are more visible and highly praised by others, while some do their work quietly behind the scenes and are given little or no attention by others.

What about your part in the body? Are you perhaps one of many who have a more prominent showing of the well-known “gifts of the Spirit” listed in the Bible (such as prophecy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, wisdom, knowledge, healing, pastorship, evangelism)? Or perhaps is your part in the body something not as easily noticed, or something which isn’t necessarily given a “name” or well-noted coverage in the scriptures? No matter what your part, purpose or gifting within the body of Christ, God has chosen you for that part – and He’s never lacked wisdom in anything He’s done!

It can be an easy temptation for people to look down on or disapprove of others who don’t “minister” or work in the body in the same way they do, or to expect others to conform to their way of doing or seeing things. And it can be equally as tempting for people to feel inadequate because they don’t have the ability to serve in some of the “big” ways that they see others serving. But my gallbladder never tried to get one of my big toes to store bile and release it when my body needed it for digestion! And while my esophagus understands how important my heart is, it doesn’t get envious or sad and try to take over the job of pumping blood through my body. It just swallows its pride (pun intended) and does what it was created to do.

As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it (1 Cor 12:18, MSG). We all have different gifts, ministries and functions within this body, but it’s the same Spirit who works all these things in all of us, and it’s all done according to His grace working in us individually and together as a body. Therefore, we shouldn’t think too highly (or lowly) of ourselves (or others). We all belong to Christ and we all belong to each other! No part of the body can say “I’m not needed” or “you’re not needed.”

Did I mention that Christ Himself is the Head of this body, and quite capably so? “We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love” (Eph 4:15-16, MSG). As vital parts of the body of Christ, each one of us is fully dependant, along with all the other members of the body, upon the grace which flows in just the right proportion from the Head to every single part of the body, seen or unseen!

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