“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27)
Runners sprinting down the track toward the finish line, weightlifters hoisting barbells with heavy metal plates, skiers flying across the slopes at breakneck speeds, or ballerinas extending their legs in a graceful arabesque – each one encapsulates the body’s flawless design. With amazing precision, the various parts of the body work in sync to ensure staggering feats get accomplished. Ordinary actions like climbing stairs, jumping rope, or playing the piano also routinely demonstrate the spectacular nature of the human body.
No wonder the Lord describes his church with this metaphor: “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5). In the way a physical body coordinates its movements, energy, and efficiency to reach a desired goal, Christ calls the church to work in harmony for his purposes on earth. The Lord is the head and we have the honor of being his hands, his lungs, and his heart in a hundred varying scenarios.
Paul detailed a description of a healthy, invigorated body achieving its assigned job. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other…And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12-14).
An athlete is required to sacrifice and persevere in order to achieve success. As the body of Christ, we must also strive together to achieve God’s intentions – doing the less than comfortable tasks, caring when it’s more convenient to be indifferent, serving when we would rather coast along, forgiving when it is easier to nurse a grudge. For the body of Christ to become what God intended, each individual member must align their hearts, wills, and hands to his.
When the body is working well, the older members are looking for ways to lean in and help the younger ones. Those whose hearts are not heavy with grief are given the grand opportunity to encourage those presently in distress. The ones with faith to believe and trust wholeheartedly can infuse the timid one with hope to endure and with resilience to persevere. The ones granted an extra measure of wealth should see how best to invest in the lives of those in need. Using the wisdom given them by God, others should be conscious of those struggling and reinforce them with discernment and truth to make it home.
The body of Christ at work. The body building one another up, making the other members flourish. Those in love with the Savior are called to see their lives as a conduit to extend generosity, kindness, and love. “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4: 13 & 16).
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell
Photo Credit: Marti Chance