Day 1 of 7

Being Church Based


1 Corinthians 12:4-27

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.6There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.14Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?18But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.19If they were all one part, where would the body be?20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Pray:

God, give us eyes to see and value the gifts of the entire body of Christ. Help us to discern, utilize, and develop our own spiritual gifts for the furtherance of your kingdom.

Reflect:

It is easy to believe that the most important people in churches are the individuals on stage each week. While these people have been entrusted with particular spiritual gifts, their gifts are no more important to the health and functionality of the body of Christ than others who have more behind the scenes gifts like administration, bookkeeping (treasurer), and hospitality. The same is true for a congregation’s staff. Children’s, youth, and outreach pastors are all as important to the health and prosperity of the body as other, more celebrated, pastors. John MacArthur writes “God has designed visible, public gifts to have a crucial place, but equally designed and more vital to life are the hidden gifts [the internal organs].”
In this passage, Paul illustrates the unity (12-13), diversity (14-20), and integrity (21-26) produced by the Spirit through the various gifts encompassed by the body of Christ. Each of these parts are indispensable and interdependent. Each part has inherent worth and value.

As the body of Christ, we should collectively feel the pain of each part. When the foot incurs a fracture, the rest of the body does not proceed uninterrupted; the entire body is impacted by this pain. This should be how the body of Christ functions, but all too often, the entire body does not feel the pain of the foot, or the hand, or the leg. The pain and suffering of parts of the body are all too often segregated.

This kind of segregation is evident in the trauma and cancerous ills of mass incarceration that the Black church frequently confronts alone, the immigration nightmares that Hispanic churches often deal with in isolation, and sexism, both inside and outside the church, that women combat in isolation. The body of Christ is called to recognize these pains, respond to them, and find ways to heal from the devastation they leave behind. Additionally, we are called to recognize and celebrate, as an interconnected body, when specific parts of the body are honored.

Respond:

Identify one aspect of this passage with which you struggle. How can your congregation better live out this passage? What’s one time when you felt like the body failed to feel your pain? Reflect on a time when you failed to feel the pain of the body of Christ? What can you do to ensure you remain attuned to the joys and pains of the body of Christ?