It is a privilege to belong to the Body of Christ and to be able to use the gifts given to us to serve others.
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.
In the first part of this chapter Paul tells that we are connected to the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and that each member has been given a gift to put to use for God’s work.
As I reflect on this passage I am struck by the notion of what an amazing community I belong to; the Body of Christ. I am reminded that this is a worldwide community and is filled with a diverse but united bunch of brothers and sisters in Christ, most of whom I will probably never have the chance to meet while here on Earth. I also know that each part of this body has an important role to play in how effectively this body functions. Do I play a part in this? Well, yes, even if my gifts seem insignificant or not as important as others, I still have a role to play.
How can such a huge community function effectively? 1 Corinthians 12:12 tells us that “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ”. Our relationship with God is reflected in our relationships with God’s people. A strong and healthy relationship with God will be demonstrated by strong and healthy relationships within the Body of Christ. This is shown by the parts of the body, using the gifts the Spirit has given to work together as one.
This reminds me of a game that I used to play with friends in primary school. One person would stand up with their arms and hands behind their back while a second person, standing behind them, would slip their arms through and try to act out scenarios before an audience of friends. One person was being the hands for the other. I remember some particularly funny moments when trying to use my hands to braid my friend’s hair or to get her to eat spaghetti bolognaise. My hands did not carry out the tasks exactly the way my friend would have liked them to. She ended up with a very messy hair do and bolognaise sauce over her face. Together our actions appeared awkward and amusing and we only had a little success in achieving what we set out to do.
Perhaps it is also like this with the Body of Christ. Our different parts work together even with our imperfections and awkwardness but because of Jesus’ love for us and our desire to serve others, he can still use us for his purposes.
Head: Remember that we are part of the worldwide Body of Christ and give thought as to how we might be able to support other members of the body both in our local community and in far off places.
Heart: How does your heart need to change so that you will value and respect the diversity of other members of the Body of Christ and be willing to support and serve them while we all strive to carry out our common purpose in Christ?
Hands: Consider today how we might be able to use our gifts to support and serve other members of the Body of Christ, whether that be physically or through prayer.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to remember what a privilege it is to belong to the Body of Christ. I pray that I will not lose sight of the amazing community that I am a part of because of what Jesus has done for me and for all those who place their trust in him. Help me to serve well and to use my gifts to support other members of the Body of Christ so that together we can carry out God’s work and have an impact on those who are yet to know Jesus, for his glory.
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.