It’s proper to leave a winter wardrobe in winter, but we can’t put on and take off the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
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 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? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
Brisbane’s short, windy winter is behind us. Days are getting warmer and longer, and you’re probably swapping the winter woollies for shorts and a tee shirt. We trade one wardrobe for another, but underneath we’re pretty much the same. Arms, legs, hands, fingers, ears and eyes don’t change with the seasons.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the body as an analogy for the way God has put together his church. It’s a beautiful way of describing the unity we have in Christ, the diversity that he has made in his people, and the duty we have to each other.
Paul describes one part of this diversity as gifts empowered by the Holy Spirit. Some gifts are extraordinary and some quite ordinary. Paul spent his time teaching and helping and spent time with those first Apostles who were prophesying, healing and speaking tongues.
In his wisdom, God has spread his many gifts among his people, so we have no choice but to work together. Our spiritual gifts are manifestations (or ‘sneak peaks’) of the spirit of Jesus and together we show each other and people who don’t yet know him a picture of who he is.
The concern and shared experience we have with our Christian brothers and sisters is not just because of Christ, it’s for Christ. We’re meant to stick together! Paul says if one part of the body suffers, the whole suffers, and if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. None of us can say: “I don’t need you!”
Paul’s analogy is on point. The church is not a wardrobe: it’s Jesus’ body. You’d never leave your arm behind just because it’s a warm day. So stay close to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Who do you know that needs support, that you may be able to support (without overextending yourself) either practically or by encouraging them in the gospel?
When are you tempted to avoid supporting or rejoicing with somebody?
Thinking about someone you may be able to serve, what are a few simple steps you can take to serve them practically or by encouraging them in the gospel?
Father, thank you for your wisdom in making your church a people who need each other. Thank you for the gifts you’ve given me and for your generosity in blessing us with relationships with each other. Please help me see my Christian brothers and sisters as you do, with constant love and care, so I might persevere with them in hard times and rejoice with them in good times. Help me to see who I can serve sacrificially in Jesus’ name and help me find the time and resources to do so. Amen
A song to listen to: The one who made us one
This Grow Daily was first posted as part of our Love My Church Series.