1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
We tend to think of this chapter as a discussion of spiritual gifts, which it is, but more importantly, Paul’s focus is on unity in the Body of Christ. As came out in yesterday’s reading, each person is gifted for the benefit of the whole Body of Christ. This verse brings the focus back to that whole, and the fact that each believer participates in that whole. The current Church scene has lots of people who consider themselves Christians, but they don’t participate in any local congregation. Such people completely miss the point of this chapter. They should ask an amputee whether the body needs all of its parts! Individual commitment and devotion to Christ is essential, but so is the interconnectedness that Paul speaks of here. After all, Jesus said that it would be our love for one another that would show the world that we are His disciples. (John 13:35) If we aren’t knit to one another in love, how will anyone know we really are Christians, and not just empty shells? To be honest, when we forget our interconnectedness we really do become empty shells. Each one will have to answer to God for their actions, but I am convinced that includes our actions toward others, how we relate to the rest of the Body of Christ.
This is something I have had to learn, which perhaps heightens my awareness of it. By personality I have thought of myself as a loner, and I really don’t care for noisy parties. I happily spend time with books or computers or machines. As a child I played by myself a great deal. I still am quite satisfied to just be alone or with my wife most of the time, and can get irritated when I feel forced to do otherwise. However, over the years I have learned that indeed, “No man is an island,” as the saying goes. I am an integral part of the Body of Christ, and if I am not properly connected with other parts of the Body I am not fulfilling my function, and I will have to answer for it. I am not to resent such interaction, but rather rejoice that I am doing what I was created to do. As a pastor I am charged with helping each believer understand this same thing. The discussion in this chapter is all too necessary much of the time, with people thinking either they aren’t needed or that they don’t need others. Both are lies of the devil! I have a handicap of sorts as a pastor because of the wide variety of things I can do, which tends to make people think they aren’t necessary. That’s why it was very good that I wasn’t here for three weeks last month, forcing the believers to see themselves and the church a bit differently. I need to bring out the gifting in each believer, so that together we may be the Body of Christ indeed.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I can’t follow through on my own! Help me walk it out, in harmony with other believers both inside and outside this church, so that the Body of Christ may indeed function as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!