12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
Paul has spent a significant amount of time on this idea of comparing the church to a body. We should take note of that. It is not a passing comment or a small point he is making. The success of the church in demonstrating the glory and goodness of God hinges not on the "performance" of any individual believer. The truth of God's love and the revealing of His character and the superiority of His government over the claims and strategies of Satan can only be accomplished by us working as a body. Think about it. The world is fractured in every way possible. Colour divides. Gender divides. Politics divide. Ideologies divide. Religion divides. When Jesus was here His church was the most divisive organization on the planet. They didn't even have room for Him. The church was even deeply divided within itself. Jesus told them that a house divided cannot stand and it didn't stand. Though Judaism still exists to some degree as a religion it has never and will never be what it was because they rejected the only One who could bridge the divides, heal the chasms, and restore love and grace where there was little to none.
Jesus was a bridge builder. Imagine what would happen if His church reflected that one reality. He did not come to elevate one people group or one idea above another. He came with a simple unchangeable Truth. We'll explore that Truth tomorrow or the next day.
For today I want to leave you with some questions to ponder:
1, Am I a contributor to building healthy diversity or am I contributing to lifting up one way or one idea or one people as superior?
2, Am I committed to using the gift(s) God has given me?
3, Am I sharing my gift(s) as part of a team or trying to do it alone?
4, Do I look for gifts in others and help them develop those gifts?
5, Would others consider me an encourager or a discourager?
6, When my pride swells and I feel I'm not appreciated as I should be, do I recognize it as pride or do I go in search or recognition?
7, If my gifts were like the kidneys and no one ever thought about me or the critical yet invisible part I play would I be ok with that?
8, Does my life look more like Jesus or like the religionists that killed Him?
9, If God asked me to use a gift I was not comfortable using would I do it?
10, Finally if we are to desire the greater gifts would I be content if God didn't give them to me? Would I look at those who have them with gratitude or envy?