The last few weeks, I have been sharing some thoughts in regards to spiritual gifts. God has given a special endowment of grace to every Christian in the church. It is like their spiritual fingerprint. It is an ability to meet a need in the body of Christ for the good of the church and the glory of God. They are meant to not serve the person, but to build the church up. They are meant to bring unity, not division.
But sometimes people do not feel the unity that these gifts are meant to bring. That is because of two reasons. I shared last week the first reason: A person might not feel part of the body because they feel their gift is inferior. They feel like they are less a part of the body than some other part of the body. Paul attacks this reasoning by informing the Corinthian people that each part is important in the body of Christ.
But then he flips the script on them. On the one hand, spiritual gifts are designed to alleviate inferiority, but they are also given to eliminate superiority. In 1 Corinthians 12:21-31, Paul argues that the eye cannot say to the hand that it is not needed. And the head cannot say to the feet that they are not needed. Those that appear more prominent are still in need for the other parts of the body in order for the body to work in harmony.
And that is what Paul is talking about: Harmony. For the body to work the way God designed it to work, it needs every part of the body operating as God designed it. The body is not complete or whole without all parts of the body working together. We need to stop thinking, saying, or acting as if some parts of the body are more important than others. I think that point is made nicely by Paul in verse 26.
"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
If we truly believe in unity; if we truly believe that gifts should eliminate inferiority and superiority complexes; then when you hear of someone in your church that is hurting or some tragedy happening to them, how do should you respond? "I'm so thankful that didn't happen to me." You can't say that. Because if you are part of the body, then it did happen to you. When you hit your thumb with a hammer, the body erupts in pain.
In the same way, when someone is honored in the body of Christ, we should never respond with "that's not fair, they always get the attention." If you are part of the body, it did happen to you as you are part of the body. Their honor only came as a result that you were fulfilling your calling.
It is time that we stop seeing ourselves as a bunch of individuals. We are one body!