Similar to food, each person in the Body of Christ is a special "ingredient" and each "ingredient" is necessary for the overall function of the church.
Generous Father, I want all You have for me. Embolden and energize me to receive it today as I come to You now.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12-20
Consider: "To be a Christian means to be part of a people. To be a faithful believer means to be a part of a faithful, believing community. To be joined to the head means to be joined to the Body" (Howard Snyder).
I love making cupcakes. I need flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. I cannot make them without eggs. Try as I will, I never achieve the desired outcome without eggs. Furthermore, no one ingredient can claim that it is the most vital--all are necessary and important. I am sure you get the analogy!
Paul uses one of his best-known analogies to demonstrate the necessity and importance of every part of the body for the proper functioning of the whole. It is demonstrably true that all parts of the body provide an important role in the proper functioning of the body. Just as diversity is vital for our physical bodies to function properly, so is diversity vital for the proper functioning of Christ's body, the church. But diversity does not mean loss of unity (20); for true unity to be demonstrated, diversity must not--indeed cannot--be stifled. The Corinthian experience of conversion and baptism was that it was the "one Spirit" who had indeed brought them into the "one body" (13), a "body" that requires many parts (14,20). As Gordon Fee says, "All members are necessary if there is to be a body and not a monstrosity."
We must not let familiarity with this passage immunize us from the thrust of Paul's teaching. In Western societies, where individualism is valued more than communal responsibility, the importance of the metaphor of Christ's church as a body has, perhaps, never been more urgently needed. It is precisely Christians working in community, with all its diversity, that demonstrates to the world the redeemed community of God's people in which all realize their full potential. "Each member is unique, distinctive, irreplaceable, and unrepeatable" (David Prior). Imagine what God could do with such a community working together in all its diversity. Such a community could turn the world upside down!
How can the gifts the Spirit has given you contribute to unity of the Body?
Sovereign Lord, I pray for churches I know that are torn by division. Bring reconciliation and healing, that they may truly display the unity that Christ brings.