Summary: The Church is known as Christ’s body, but as in the body we are many parts, each with different roles and abilities. We need to celebrate our differences while keeping hold of the One who is central to us all.
(Note: English Preacher in an American Church!!)
Peanuts by Charles Schultz:
Lucy demanded that Linus change the channel on the TV, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t comply. “What makes you think you can walk in here and take over?” asks Linus.
“These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold”.
“Which channel would you like?” asks Linus. Turning away he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organised like that?”
1 Cor 12:12 says “The body is a unit made up of many parts; and though it’s parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”
Paul writes to the Corinthian church, addressing many of their problems, one of those being that of pride. He reminds them that each one who has made a commitment to Christ is a valuable member of the body of Christ.
These Corinthians were getting all puffed up as one person could do one thing and someone else couldn’t. They were putting themselves above others because they saw that their gifting made them more important than someone else.
Yet Paul tells them that the body is made up of many individual, different, unique, diverse parts and that each one is important.
Look at the person sat next to you.
That person is not the same as you. They don’t look the same, they don’t talk the same, they don’t smell the same and they don’t do all the same things as you. They are not the same as you. They are themselves.
Even so called identical twins are not completely the same, they are individuals.
Each one of us is unique.
We’re unique in our appearance, unique in our character, unique in our gifts, unique in our maturity, unique in our abilities and unique in so many other ways.
And you know what? You are the best person to be You! There’s no-one else who could be you any better than you. In the words of Carly Simon’s James Bond theme, Nobody does it better, nobody does it half as good as you, baby you’re the best!
And what’s even better is that God wants you to be you. He doesn’t want anyone else to be you. He chose you to be you, no-one else.
Psalm 139 tells us God knitted us together in our mother’s womb.
We’re all members of the body of Christ as individuals.
Not because we belong to a local church, or are part of the PBA, the AOB, the CBF, the BGAV or any other organisation, but because we individually make a decision to follow Christ.
Now for most Christians the outworking of their being in the body of Christ is seen in the local church. And we’re not talking about a building.
In your bulletin you may have read the quote from Earnest Southcott that says, “We don’t go to church, we are the church”.
The body of Christ is made up of individuals, you and me. And each of us has a different role to play in the body of Christ, and for most of us that will be in our local congregation.
R. Y. K. Fung writes that “having a multiplicity of members and functions is necessary for the body as a whole and for the members individually, all of whom are involved in a solidarity of experience or unity of destiny. So resentment born of a feeling of inferiority or arrogance arising from a sense of superiority are both out of place”.
Our roles are different, yet equally important.
And that’s why I like the model that this congregation follows of laity involvement. Each person doing a job in this church is just as important as the next person.
Joe Phillips said it in last weeks business meeting: if we don’t do it folks, it doesn’t get done!
Read 1 Cor 12: 15-19
Don’t think of yourself as inferior to someone else in this congregation because you only do this job, or that job, and they do a more important job.
If the mayor of a city goes AWOL for three weeks, life would still continue and others would pick up the pieces and carry on. There probably wouldn’t be too much of a disturbance.
But if the refuse collectors went AWOL for three weeks, the city would be in a real mess and it would cause all kinds of problems.
Don’t think you’re any less important than someone else in the body of Christ. What you do does not define who you are.
And also, don’t think you’re any more important than everyone else in the body of Christ.
Read 1 Cor 12: 21-25
People do different jobs and you might be better at something than another person, but that person might be better at something else that you’re useless at!