1 Corinthians 12:12-31
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. 15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body. 21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. 27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. 28 First, God has placed apostles in the church. Second, he has placed prophets in the church. Third, he has placed teachers in the church. Then he has given to the church miracles and gifts of healing. He also has given the gift of helping others and the gift of guiding the church. God also has given the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. 29 Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? 31 But above all, you should want the more important gifts. But now I will show you the best way of all.
I love this passage.
I love how the church is described as the body of Christ. We are his hands and feet in the world. We are how he has chosen to have an impact in the world.
I love that my God loves diversity. I can see it in the infinite inventiveness of creation. I can see it in the wide range of people he has made in His image. And I can see it in the wonderful rich variety of gifts that he gives to the church. I love the way it all works together, like how all those brilliant complex favours and spices go together to make a good Indian curry.
I love that there is a place for me. I am “home” in the body of Christ. But I’m also glad that the church is not full of people like me. I’m richly blessed by the wonderful mix of different people and gifts. And the church is blessed (perhaps a little) because I am part of it. Jesus gives me something that enriches the body as a whole, which is different to the blessings others bring. The body is blessed most if I actively express my part, and it suffers if I suffer.
I’m challenged to look for how I can use what he gives me to bless the body (not be selfish), and to seek other gifts that will bless more. I’m challenged to rejoice in the things that others bring (not be arrogant, self-focussed or jealous). I’m challenged to tell others what a blessing they are to me.
Father, thank you for the wonderful rich mix of people and gifts that you are making into your church. Thank you for my place in it.
Written by David Cornell