“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” 1 Corinthians 12:12
The church is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Everyone is a piece, and when each person does their part a beautiful picture is made. When one or two pieces are gone from a puzzle my family is putting together we never say, “oh well, at least most of them are here.” No, there is a frantic search for the missing piece, because the picture will not be complete without it. In fact, if we can’t find what’s missing, we will end up throwing the whole puzzle away because it can never be finished. Each piece, however small, is vital to the whole.
The apostle Paul, in a similar way, says the church is like a body. Each part is very different in looks and function but essential to the whole. He points out two attitudes that can slip into the body of Christ and undermine the unity that God is trying to bring about: rejection and pride (we’ll cover pride tomorrow).
First, he deals with rejection which is very prevalent in today’s church. “If the foot should say, ‘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.” (1Corinthians 12:15-16) It is very easy to look around at other people’s gifts and feel like yours is inferior. The temptation is to “bury your talent” in a spirit of rejection, because you don’t feel like you’re “important” anyway.
Rejection can often be the byproduct of jealousy. The jealous ear might be overheard saying something like this: “Oh, how I wish I was an eye. Everyone’s always commenting on the beautiful blue eyes, and people look into one another’s eyes. Why can’t I be an eye? No one comments on ears. No one notices them unless they’re too big. Why do I have to be stuck being an ear?” Paul gives the answer of why you were given the part you’ve been given, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” (1Corinthians 12:18) You can either rebel against who you are and be upset and unhappy, or accept your position, serve in it, and experience the joy of the Lord. Joy doesn’t come from being important in people’s eyes, it comes from being loved and used by God.