Tuesday, July 9, 2024

A Unified Body (1 Corinthians 12:14-26)

"But now indeed there are many members, yet one body" (1 Cor. 12:20).

When Paul compares the church to the body, he brings out four very important points. First, God has lovingly and graciously given us gifts for the edification of the whole body. No matter what that gift may be, we should be content with it. The foot should not want to be the hand, the eye should not want to be the ear, etc. The elder should not complain that he is not a missionary, and the Sunday School teacher should not complain that he is not the pastor.

Second, we must remember that the position and the gifts of every member are determined by the Lord. Who we are and the gifts we have received are not accidental or determined by our own actions. They are distributed by God according to His wisdom. We should, therefore, submit to God’s design in giving us the gifts we have and not long to be and have something that God has not purposed for us. “One has one gift and another another; one is a pastor and another is a missionary; one labors in the city, another in the wilderness, not according to their relative merits, nor in virtue of their own selection, but as God wills and orders,” Hodge wrote.

Third, because we are not complete in and of ourselves, we need one another. This should humble us and cause us to value every member of the body because the church’s diversity is evidence that we, as individuals, are not complete. The eye cannot function without the heart, and neither can the highly gifted in the church function without the service of others. It is supreme arrogance and pride for any member of the church to think that he does not need others. Such attitudes divide the body, draining it of the vitality it needs to serve God.

Last, the least attractive gifts are often the most important. “As in the human frame the heart is more important than the tongue, so in the church, the gift of prayer is more important than eloquence,” Hodge wrote. “Those who in the closet, however obscure, wrestle with God, often do more for His glory and for the advancement of His kingdom than those who fill the largest space in the public eye.” We should, therefore, honor and encourage even the least of those whom God has chosen, for as Christ said, the least will be the greatest.

Under each of the four points of today’s scripture reflection, rank yourself from 1 to 10. For example, contentment with the gifts God has given you: do you have little contentment or a lot? How much do you resemble the Corinthians in your attitude toward spiritual gifts? Specifically pray about those areas you rank the lowest.