If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 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.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
– Corinthians 12:15-31 ESV
E – A
I don’t always start my day thinking that I’m a part of the body of Christ. It’s a humbling, challenging, and reassuring thing to consider.
I often feel envy for higher gifts of the Spirit than I have. I feel I’m not useful, or a legitimate part of the body in whatever ways I’m serving currently, and I always think there’s some level of spiritual gifting I’ll reach at some point where I’ll finally be able to say, “Now I’m a useful part of the body of Christ.”
This chapter challenged me to desire those higher gifts, but not because I’m useless until I get them. Paul says all the parts of the body are necessary, and no part has the right to say to itself or to another “you’re unneeded”.
Whatever task you’ve laid before me, whether administrative, musical, or in teaching, or is wise counsel, or anything else, I have been encouraged by your word this morning that I am not a benign tumor on the body of Christ. I am useful because you’ve made me useful by giving me what I need through your Spirit. Let me never again belittle his work in me or others by considering someone or myself unnecessary in your kingdom. At the same time, I want to keep pressing onward into gifts I don’t feel I possess because ultimately, I started off with nothing and your Spirit empowers me to do anything I do for your glory, small or great. I dare not say I don’t have the ability for greater things because you are my ability.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.