The Body is Made up of Many Members
The eye cannot say to the rest of the body, “I have no need of you!” (1 Cor 12:21)
God’s Temple – Our Tent
Unfortunately, despite the regenerate nature of our souls, once we become believers, our remaining time here on Earth is plagued by the many weaknesses built into our fallen bodies (Rom 7:18). In fact, the Bible tells us that our bodies are analogous to a tent which believers yearn to leave in favor of a more permanent and perfect eternal dwelling (2 Cor 5:2).
Despite our many imperfections, as well as our inability to completely put aside our body’s inborn sin nature, we know that as long as we remain here, we do so in order to accomplish the work that He prepared ahead of time for us to do (Eph 2:10).
As part of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, all Christians are blessed with certain spiritual gifts, not the least of which is the ability to say that “Jesus is Lord!” (1 Cor 12:3). From the earliest days after Christ’s resurrection, there has been a great deal of confusion and discussion regarding the nature of these gifts (Acts 2:6).
Like many of the things revealed to us in the Word, God retains for Himself many secrets regarding these gifts. However, as is often the case, some aspects are described specifically. For example, we know that there are a variety of gifts and that they are all given by the one true God for the common good and that they work together for God’s perfect, foreknown plan (1 Cor 12:4-7, 11, Psalm 139:13-19).
Various Gifts, Common Value
The Bible tells us that all of the church’s individual gifts work together symbiotically to support the needs of the whole congregation in a manner similar to the interworking of the various parts of our own bodies (1 Cor 12:12-14). The analogy even asserts that no individual part of the body can reasonably say that it is more critical to the whole than any other:
“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. 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. 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? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?” (1 Cor 12:15-18).
The passage goes on to describe the importance that love plays in enabling the proper function of the parts of the body and their various giftings:
“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:2)
Why don’t you use the Bible’s analogy to reflect on the importance that each person plays in the healthy functionality of your family and/or church. Afterall, God knew how likely we’d be to need this lesson, so he designed us all with our own uniquely humble, built-in versions of the necessary teaching aids for this profound lesson!
In our family, this illustration is especially useful anytime an older sibling makes a derogatory comparison belittling their younger brother or sister, or when they’ve been subjected to ridicule or personal self-doubt.
It might also be helpful when trying to help an overly haughty congregant remember the value of a fellow believer presumed to be lesser.
This is a great reminder: “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (1 Cor 12:22).