One Body, Many Parts (Identity in Christ Part 19)

MRI Showing Tumor in Spine

Hello dear friends. Tonight I wanted to talk about something I am passionate about, the Body of Christ. As His co-labors we are called to not only have a relationship with Him, but with other believers. Each member of the Body has a role to play. Christ is the head of the church. We cannot not function without Him. If we as the Body do nothing, how successful are we at building His Kingdom? If my body is paralyzed, I am not going to move as quick or be as effective. Let’s investigate what Paul had to say.

Unity and Diversity in the Body-1 Corinthians 12-31.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 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. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

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. 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. 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? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

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!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 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, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 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. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

In our western society we focus mainly on a few parts of the Body: pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and worship leaders. They are the noticeable parts of the Body. They are the honored parts of the Body. Well, what about everyone else? Paul states every person has a role to play and the parts that seem weaker are indispensable. The parts we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. What if your role in the Body is to invest in your children, or pass out flyers, or set up or tear down at church? What if your role is to infiltrate business, arts, media, education, politics, or your workplace with the Gospel and love of Jesus? What if what you do for God goes unnoticed by everyone but Him? It’s easy to look at other people and think God only uses certain people. It’s also easy in the western world to come to church Sunday after Sunday and not invest anything in anyone. It’s easy to come to be served instead of serve. It’s easy to go unnoticed in larger congregations, no one sees you come or go. It’s easy to not know anyone from your church. That is not what Paul told us we are to be. No condemnation here. We don’t invest out of guilt, but love. If we are forced to serve or invest in people or the Kingdom, God tells us we can keep our gifts.

What’s stopping us from being active parts of His Body? Here are some possible reasons.

1. We are comparing ourselves to others instead of looking to Christ to find out what role we are to play.

2. We think of church as a place to go instead of a community we are to be actively involved in.

3. We think God only uses and speaks to special people.

4. We are waiting on some sign to tell us what to do.

5. We are consumers instead of investors.

6. We are relying on someone else to do it. We rely heavily on the same people who are “called” instead of recognizing we are all called to fill a role.

7. We want a front and center role instead of an unrecognized one.

8.  We are waiting to be asked instead of volunteering or serving without being asked or noticed.

9. We don’t see how vital we are to the Body.

10. We are inward focused instead of community focused.

11. We think the Holy Spirit only works through certain people, “special people.”

First let me say the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is working in born again believers. It’s not a different Holy Spirit for different people. I’ve seen children with spiritual insight and operating in the gifts of the Spirit. They are extremely effective because they are relying on God and aren’t filled with unbelief. God works through ordinary people.

Jesus told the disciples to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, drive out evil spirits, disciple others. We are called to do the same things. We are here to do what we saw Jesus doing. Freely we received, freely we give (Matthew 10:8). We all have a role we can play. The role no matter how small we think it is, is important to God.

What if you’re wondering how to daily or weekly bless the Body of Christ. I talked to a friend tonight about this very topic, we can think of how we enjoy blessing people and do that. If you like hosting events, be a host. If you like kids, volunteer to help a mom or in children’s ministry. If you enjoy encouraging people, encourage people. If you like giving, give. If you have words of wisdom or insight, share them. If you enjoy praying for people, pray. If you like teaching, teach. God encourages us to eagerly ask for opportunities to bless others. He is not stingy. He will use us mightily for Him. I read a quote that I love, “We can all do great things as long as we don’t care who gets the credit.” We are all called to bear one anther’s burdens, pray, give, share, love. There are ways we can all be a blessing.

Closing thoughts:

You have a significant role to play that no other person was destined to play. You are a crucial part of Christ’s Body. No part is insignificant or not valued. I was in a car accident the end of January and had one rib out of place and two cervical disks out of alignment. The nerve pain radiated down my arms, to my fingers. The burning pain was awful. The tops of my feet felt like they were on fire. I could not get comfortable. It took the Spine specialist ~10 minutes to put them back into alignment and the pain was gone. It wasn’t my brain, heart, lungs, or major organs malfunctioning. It was a small rib and two disks that impacted most of my body. I even had tingling on face. Every part must work for the Body to be as effective as it can be.

May we never forget we are to work together to build God’s Kingdom. We all have a role to play and it’s for His Glory.

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