Summary: no matter who we feel about others, in the Kingdom of God, we need each other
A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. Some of us are Jews and some of us are not; some of us are slaves and some of us are free. But we were all baptized to become one body through one Spirit. And we were all given the one Spirit. And a person’s body has more than one part. It has many parts. The foot might say, “I am not a hand, so I don’t belong to the body.” But saying this would not stop the foot from being a part of the body. The ear might say, “I am not an eye, so I don’t belong to the body.” But saying this would not make the ear stop being a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, it would not be able to hear. If the whole body were an ear, it would not be able to smell anything. If each part of the body were the same part, there would be no body. But as it is, God put the parts in the body as he wanted them. He made a place for each one. So there are many parts, but only one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the foot, “I don’t need you!” No, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are actually very important. And the parts that we think are not worth very much are the parts we give the most care to. And we give special care to the parts of the body that we don’t want to show. The more beautiful parts don’t need this special care. But God put the body together and gave more honor to the parts that need it. God did this so that our body would not be divided. God wanted the different parts to care the same for each other. If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. (1 Corinthians 12:12-26)
Imagine the Master Carpenter’s tools holding a conference: Brother Hammer presides, but several suggest he leave the meeting because he is too noisy. Brother Hammer replies, “If I have to leave this shop, Brother Screw must go also. You have to turn him around again and again to get him to accomplish anything.” Brother Screw speaks up. “If you wish, I’ll leave. But Brother Plane must leave, too. All his work is on the surface. His efforts have no depth.” To this, Brother Plane responds, “Brother Rule will also have to withdraw, for he is always measuring folks as though he were the only one who is right.” Brother Rule then complains about Brother Sandpaper: “He ought to leave, too, because he’s so rough and always rubbing people the wrong way. On and on goes the discord.
In the midst of all this discussion, in walks the Carpenter of Nazareth. He has arrived to start his day’s work. Putting on his apron, he goes to the bench to make a pulpit from which to proclaim the gospel. He uses Brothers Hammer, Screw, Plane, Rule, Sandpaper, and all the other tools. After the day’s work, when the pulpit is finished, Brother Saw arises and remarks, “Brethren, I observe that all of us are workers together with the Lord.”
So It is with the body of Christ – and with us who come to In The Garden.
We all are not only important; we are essential to being the body. If our hands take the day off, how shall we eat? If our eyes decide to go on strike, what is to keep us from bumping into things? If our feet decide they've carried an unfair share of the load and resign, how shall we move about? We are part of a team and everyone has something they can do.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul states the truth of our need to accept our differences and to recognize these differences as essential to the proper functioning of the whole. Our differences are not to create divisions between us. There are many parts because there are many needs. And without the various parts, some needs would not be fulfilled.
I’m going to summarize this in just four words—so if you fail to hear anything else I say, don’t miss these three words. The point is:
WE NEED EACH OTHER!
Let me repeat it so there’s no mistaking it:
WE NEED EACH OTHER!
God has made us all different and unique. We each have been given gifts that no one else has been given. We are each special and necessary. And each part must be willing to perform its own function. There are three points about us as members of the body of In The Garden: