Monday, March 12, 2012

The Body

Today I am still thinking about our CBS lecture from last Wednesday.  One thing Jan (the teaching leader) talked about that really hit me was the body of Christ, how we are each members of it.  Her main point had to do with remaining connected to the head actually.  She had a cute illustration.  She said if somehow her arm were to become disconnected from her body and thrown into a waste basket across the room, there is little chance someone who happened upon the arm in the waste basket would say, "Oh, look! There's Jan!"  =)

That made me laugh, but what really hit me last week was her discussion about how, as members of the body connected to the head, we are each most effective, most fruitful, when we are doing exactly what we were created to do.  She pointed out that on the "servant's" team (their name for leadership team) they often say that each of them serve the whole best when they do their own job well.  Nobody else's, only your own, and do it well; that's the way to be most fruitful.  A shoulder helps the elbow and the hand and the fingers do their jobs by doing what?  By doing a good job being a shoulder, nothing more.  The knee and foot can do their jobs best only if the hip is doing its job well.  The hip may consider its job fairly unglamorous, but without it functioning well, the body is greatly impaired.

Of course we've all heard these analogies before, that as members of the body of Christ we all have different roles.  But for the first time in my Christian life when she said it last week, I believed it.  I understood it and believed it, just "got" it in a way I never have before.  It was such a great relief.

I serve Christ best when I do the job He has given me well.  That's all I need to worry about.  I'm not a missionary to far flung places, I have no impressive role in church, I am a complete nobody.  But I do have work to do, and the body of Christ is served best when I do my work well.  What a joy, because that is exactly what I want to do!

So today's verse is actually a passage from 1 Corinthians:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.     1 Corinthians 12:12-25

You'll notice I didn't cut'n'paste the next part of the passage about some being apostles, some prophets, some teachers, some workers of miracles.  That's the part that has always thrown me, I think, because I am certainly none of those things.  After reading about how some are apostles and teachers and prophets and workers of miracles, and I was always left feeling like nothing more than a lowly armpit hair or the eyelash that gets caught under my contact.

Eh.  My constipated heart would twist this passage to ferret out the very opposite meaning from what Paul intended.  So for the first time when Jan mentioned this last week (although she actually didn't reference this passage), I understood it and accepted it and it gave me joy.  I certainly have my work to do, and me doing my work well contributes to the fruitful and effective functioning of the whole. 

Thank you, Lord!  Gotta run!

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