A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. . . . Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. - 1 Corinthians 12:7, 27
Perhaps the greatest mystery in Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. Attempts to explain how God is one and yet exists in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—have usually been less than compelling. Part of the reason for this is that we explain something unknown by drawing an analogy with something known. But nothing adequately explains the Trinity—how God exists in a unity that is characterized by diversity. Yet it is true.
On the other hand, the created world in which we live is full of examples of unity in diversity and diversity in unity, and these examples are reflections of the Creator. Take, for example, the human body. As we know, it is made up of a great number of diverse parts. All of these parts have a special and unique place and function. In fact, the more we learn about the human body, the more complex and intricate we understand it to be. Paul observed, “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body” (1 Cor. 12:12). This is an obvious point, but Paul made this point for a very good reason. He wanted to show how the church—the body of Christ—reflects the unity-diversity characteristics of God. Using the human body as a starting place, Paul added, “So it is with the body of Christ” (12:12).
Just like the members of the human body, all the members of the body of Christ have a unique role to play in the life and health of the church. Paul stated this explicitly: “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” (12:27).
Not every member of the church has grasped that he or she is a “separate and necessary part” of the church. Many feel perfectly comfortable playing no discernible role in the church’s life—except, perhaps, the role of spectator! But the fact remains that, as in the human body, each member of the church has been uniquely endowed not only with a role but also with the means to fulfill it. The enabling for service in the church is found in unique “spiritual gifts” given by the “Holy Spirit,” and these gifts are granted to “each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Cor. 12:4, 7).
If the body, both physical and spiritual, is to remain healthy and function effectively, then each part of the body must fulfill its task. A church is healthy when all its members function as they were designed to function. Christ works best through his body!
For Further Study: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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