How does a local church operate? What talents and abilities are needed? Is every church going to have the same talents or needs? Let’s look at how God sees the value of every single church member in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 “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. 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.”
We put food into our bodies, which convert it into energy, lubricants for our joints and perspiration for cooling. Each human body has about 200 billion nerve cells connected by hundreds of trillions of synapses. The heart pumps about 1½ gallons of blood every minute to every part of the body.
1 Corinthians 12:14-17 ‘For the body is not one member, but many. 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. 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. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?’
Human feet are complex designs for walking erect. 25% of our body’s bones are in our feet, and contain three arches each for strong load bearing. But these are also dynamic arches, absorbing various shocks as the load changes. At the same time feet use leverage to propel us forward.
Our hands are designed to strongly grasp large objects and skillfully handle small objects. Most of the fingers are actually controlled by muscles in the forearm through long tendons that pass through leverage points. Fat cells in the fingers give protection for delicate nerve cells which detect touch and heat.
Our eyes remain the same size from birth. We blink over 4 million times a year to irrigate the eye. The vestibulo-ocular reflex is like a miraculous steadicam for the eyes. The retina is among the most complex tissues in the body, too complex for our current computers to analyze.
How could our ears evolve by accident? Sounds comes through into the outer ear which is designed to amplify sound. Behind the eardrum, three little bones amplify and transmit the sounds. Then the cochlea converts them into electrical signals for the brain, through the incredibly complex microscopic organ of Corti.
1 Corinthians 12:18-21 ‘But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. 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.”’
Why are the feet, hand, eyes and ears placed where they are? What would it be like if our feet, hands, eyes or ears were situated in a totally different place? Can you imagine a few different places? What would it be like if we had to live like that?
1 Corinthians 12:22-24a “On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 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, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.”
Without identifying which parts of the body are weaker, they are just as necessary as the stronger parts of our body. The same with those parts which we cover up with clothing and shoes for protection or modesty. They are just as necessary as our eyes which are usually uncovered.
1 Corinthians 12:24b-26 “But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
We pay careful attention to those parts of our body which need protection from sunburn, scratches, damage, uv light, heat or cold. We care just as much for our feet as our hands, or our eyes as for our ears. We would not want to be without any of them.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.”
Today’s apostle (small a) might be a messenger, or a missionary. Today’s prophet might be a man or woman who speaks God’s will. A teacher is a master of the Scriptures and teaches the Bible well. Miracles, healings, administrators, helpers, and translators? All are needed for a church to run.
A local church operates like a human body. God values the talents and abilities of every single member. Not every church going to have the same abilities or needs. Like a human body needs every part, hands, feet, ears and eyes, at different times for different purposes, so too does the local church need everyone.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
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