1 Corinthians 12:19-27 (NASB95)
19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
What do you need out of a body of believers? Why do we come to church on a given day for a church service? Is it tradition? Is it to hear a “good sermon”? As I blogged about last week, I think we overemphasize the role of teaching pastors in churches today. My point is not that the teaching gift is not a critical part of the body (in fact, it is part of my gifting), as it is I can’t imagine being without my eye and the sight it brings, but I equally can’t imagine living without my sense of hearing, and even though I never think much about it, I would be dead without my liver. Unfortunately, I think many of us believe that the gift of teaching is indispensable while most other spiritual gifts, while they are nice, are not critical to my Christian walk and the life of the church. Yet, scripture emphasizes the fact that we need the unique and varied contributions of each member of the body of Christ at different times.
Since each believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling them (Rom. 8:9), we each have a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is unique to us (1 Cor. 12:7). I think of artists who use the same paint brush to paint yet create such different experiences, or the men who can use the same piece of marble to construct a kitchen counter, a park bench and the Lincoln Memorial. Personally, while I can appreciate what the Lincoln Memorial builders did (it was impressive and what most people came to see), after walking with my wife around the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for hours, nothing was more appealing to that weary traveler than the park bench I found there. While the monument was more visible and impressive structure, it did nothing for my need. Although now that I think of it, I never tried sitting on his lap!
We naturally honor the more visible gifts in our church services. Those who sing, play an instrument, give announcements, and teach. They are the ones we clap for and find to say a kind word to after the service. Yet, what about the sound technician whose efforts enabled us to hear all that was being played, sung and said? What about the people who come early to make coffee, clean up or arrange décor? What of those spending hours making the truths of scripture digestible for the young hearers in Sunday School? What of those whose mere welcoming presence made us comfortable enough to put away the distractions of our week and morning? These and many like them are critical, indispensable members of the body which receive little, if any, honor.
May we find ways every week to bring honor to the less visible, but indispensable, members of our church.