If we are the Body of Christ…and He is the head, it’s like we all clamor to be His hands, but none want to be His wrist. Or how about His intestines? Or Jesus’ armpits?
We had a very engaging guest speaker at church two Sundays ago. Beth Malena shared/challenged/encouraged us with 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. A very familiar passage related to unity for those growing up in the church, but as the Word is living, it spoke to me in a new way.
First, it was great to be reminded that Christ is the head of the church, and not our pastors. If we treat the pastor as the head, or if the pastor believes him/herself to be the head, then that local church can easily slide into the wrong direction. Christ is the head. He leads. He decides…and the rest of the Body follows.
So about this Body. Please don’t think of it as a literal body and then talk about who is what body part. That’s not the point (though the Mr Potato Head picture doesn’t help). Beth drew attention to the less lovely members of the Body…the hidden and not as noticeable parts. And also pointed out, we could be missing parts altogether. It’s the first time I noticed scripture telling us who we perceive as the weaker members are actually INDESPENSIBLE. The parts we think are not as honorable should actually receive more HONOR. And who we think aren’t as respectable should be given more RESPECT. And a key here is that these seemingly more “inferior” members are just how we have perceived them to be…and not who they actually are.
When we thinking about showing honor or respect to someone…what comes to mind? You make special considerations for their preferences. You anticipate their needs. You take time to listen to them. You extend generosity and hospitality to them.
Who are the seemingly “weaker”, “less respectable” members in your church body? Who are the people you are drawn towards and who are the people you would rather avoid? And if not avoid, then who are the people you aren’t as comfortable associating or hanging out with? I confess there are people who I have to try extra hard to be around…but I know, I’m probably that hard-to-be-around person to someone else too.
And who is missing? There very well could be a group who doesn’t feel they belong so they’ve left or avoided church themselves. As the Good Shepherd searched for His missing sheep…shouldn’t we the church go out and seek the missing members whom we need?
Another Body of Christ illustration I read somewhere that ties in nicely with this theme…is the idea of how the whole Body suffers when one part suffers. When I stub my toe I’m not thinking, “There goes the toe again…if it had eyes it’d know to avoid that chair leg.” When I stub my toe it’s a FULL BODY reaction to the PAIN I’m feeling everywhere. OW!! My hands hold the toe and the whole body kind of waits until the pain subsides. Do we do that with fellow body members who are hurting? Whether or not they’ve hurt themselves or others have hurt them? Do we hurt with them until the pain subsides? Or are we more apt to back away until that member’s got it under control? On the flip side, do we tell our community when we’re hurting…to provide the opportunity for them to sit with/hold/provide for you until the pain subsides?
Lots of thoughts. Good challenging thoughts.
I’m not exactly sure how to put this all into action quite yet…but I pray I’ll recognize it when I get there.