January 10, 2012
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body?whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free?and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, ?Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,? it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, ?Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,? it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If 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?But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, ?I don?t need you!? And the head cannot say to the feet, ?I don?t need you!? On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” — 1 Cor 12:12-30
Every fortnight for the last two months, I?ve been taking my father for treatment for a viral wart on his toe. Each time the doctor would pare the dead skin around the wart and apply histofreezer, or liquid nitrogen. Dad would walk out of that clinic in much pain. The first week after each treatment, it would hurt him to walk. The pain would begin to ease in the second week, which would be time for another treatment. And the cycle would begin all over again.
Dad is a big man. Yet, when the toe hurts, he doesn?t feel good. His whole body is so keenly aware of the sore caused by the toe.
That reminds me of the body of Christ. Each of us is only a small part of that body. But when one of us hurts, the whole body hurts with it.
That was what the apostle Paul said, “…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…”
What was Paul trying to tell us?
In the larger context of 1 Corinthians 12, Paul was teaching about spiritual gifts. Each member of the body of Christ is given a gift. Some had deemed certain gifts as more important than others, and Paul was trying to correct the misconception.
He used the body as an analogy. Each part of the body, no matter how small, belongs to that body. And each part is important. Paul said that if one part denies its existence or importance, the whole body will suffer. Every part of the body must play its part.
You and I belong to the body of Christ, the Church. Each one of us has been given a gift, to contribute to the functioning of the Church. God is the One who gives the gift. Not only does He know best what we can do, He knows best what He wants us to do.
We may deem that gift “small”, but it will contribute to the growth of the body. Remember my father?s toe? It?s small. It?s seemingly insignificant. But when it hurts, the big man feels the pain all over.
What is your gift? How have you been using it for God? Or have you thought it is too small and therefore have been withholding it?
Don?t allow the body of Christ to suffer because of your “small” gift. Contribute to the growth of the Church by doing your part!
Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.