Paul is continuing to addresses the Corinthian church’s superiority attitude. He started this answer in our last reading by focusing on the fact that ALL of us were brought into Christ by the same Spirit, and that ALL of the gifts given to the church were given by the same Spirit. Today he puts this concept into physical terms; the body of Christ.
The church was divided over which gifts and which offices were most important. They were looking for a pyramid structure with one group being on the top. Of course everyone thought their gifting or office should occupy that top placement. In this model those on the upper levels stand on the shoulders of those under them. Resources pass up to strengthen the top but nothing flows back down to shore up the base.
That is not the system Jesus created for us. Jesus crafted a systemic structure. Each portion within the system feeds and receives from one another. Each system within the whole supports and receives support the other systems. This is how our bodies work. God created our bodies in the first place so is it any wonder He chose to model His church after His design?
Each of us has a part to play in His body. That might be a small part, like showing people where to park as they arrive for service. It might be an intermediate part, like helping in Sunday school. Or it could be a big part, like preaching the word. But each part is dependent on the other and supports the other. What kind of mood would the congregation our preacher speaks to be in if there were fights in the parking lot for the best places? How exasperated would our Sunday school worker be if the preacher never communicated about the time expectancy of his messages? When would our parking attendants be expected to be available if there were no scheduled meeting start times? Each relies on the other for direction.
Jesus never asked any of us to be all things to all people. In his travels Paul tried to meet everyone where they were but even he wasn’t expected to carry the whole job alone. Nor was he to be the “top dog.” Jesus even delegated responsibilities to His disciples. He didn’t carry the money purse, Judas did. He didn’t pay the temple tax, Peter did. Jesus knew what was going on in all these areas and supported those doing the tasks as well as benefited from the accomplished tasks. He gave and received, just like He calls us to do.
Jesus could have done everything alone, He chose not to. He chose to model for us His principals. In His daily life He modeled those principals through the Godhead too. Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit worked in unity as one. Each had a role which both gave and received, but ALL functioned as one. God is one. Jesus prayed to the Father. The Holy Spirit put the power behind Jesus’ prayers. God directed Jesus’ feet. God received glory for all that was happening. The Holy Spirit was able to touch lives through Jesus’ hands. Jesus received strength from the Father. None were whole without the others
That is our model. We are not complete without our brothers and sisters. Christ’s body isn’t working properly unless each one of us is giving and receiving to and from one another. The giving may be as simple as a smile or a word of encouragement, but it is truly needed. Being the willing recipient of these simple gifts is a blessing to the giver. How many times has someone paid you a complement and you brushed it off? This devalues the giver and yourself. Don’t be puffed up by praise but recognize that the one giving it wouldn’t be doing so for no reason. And when you give a complement, be sincere. Don’t use flattering words in order to gain something for yourself. (I don’t know how I got off on this track but I’m going to leave this where it is. Maybe there is a good reason for it.)
Bottom line, be a contributing member to the body of Christ. There is no greater service or reward out there.
Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me be part of Your body. I am disconnected physically but not spiritually. I pray I’m giving back even a little bit of what You have given me. Forgive me for unplugging. The roles in my life are very limited right now and I don’t have an opportunity to interact with other believers outside my own home. I want to be used by You AND also receive from other believers. I don’t know how to do that beyond this forum. Thank You for meeting me where I am and for meeting my needs. Thank You for being my company during the lonely times. Thank You for being my teacher and my guide. Thank You that I am never alone. Remind me of that when I feel lonely again. I have a WHOLE body surrounding me, even if I don’t see them, but I ALWAYS have “my Head” firmly in place.