Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:4–5 (NLT)
When we asked Jesus to forgive our sins and we accepted his gift of salvation, we became a member of the great and glorious body of Christ. There is also an expression of the body of Christ at the local level; we are many members with many different backgrounds, gifts, interests, and abilities. It is a mystery as to how God can take other people from different backgrounds and experiences, mold us, and unite us into the body of Christ.
We Are in This Together
The body of Christ is not a club that attempts to bring people together. The body of Christ is a living organism that works together to serve the head of the body, Jesus Christ. We are joined to one another by our love for the one who called us to a new life, redeems us from the cost of our sin, and renews us for a life of service and love.
The apostle Paul uses the image of the human body to refer to the relationship of Christ with His church and of the members to one another. He doesn’t say we are “like a body,” but he states plainly, “we are the body of Christ.” “Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NLT)
Some of God’s people believe that they can do life on their own. It has always been valid to some extent, but the last few years (Covid time) have accentuated the misconception that being part of the body is unnecessary. Or that you can be a part of the body of Christ without being together. Believe it or not, we cannot grow strong without each other.
A Rich Diversity
God calls us from all areas of life. Some grew up in loving homes, where their parents taught them about a God who loves us. Others have experienced abuse and mistreatment that the rest of us can’t even begin to imagine. But God, who is rich in mercy, brings us all together. He does something supernaturally that only He can do. The Word says that we have been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
It seems too easy to become dissatisfied and move on to another church. It reminds me of a story about a man who was rescued from a deserted island after being stranded for many years. When the rescuers found him, they also found three huts on the island. They asked them why they were three huts. He said the first one was where he lived, the second one was where he went to church, and the third one was where he used to go to church.
It is Christ, who puts the whole body together, but we must be willing. We have to consider the needs of others as our own needs. We have to love one another as Christ loved us. “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16–17 (NIV)
Traveling home this past weekend, we took a detour through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. In Sequoia National Park, you will find the Giant Forest. Foremost among the trees is General Sherman. It is the largest living thing on earth.
It is amazing how tall they grow and how long they have lived. Did you know you can never find a towering redwood tree standing by itself? In relation to its height, the redwood tree has a very shallow root system; one, however, that extends out far into the distance. In fact, the root system can spread as wide as the tree is tall.
Because the root system is shallow, the tree is vulnerable during a storm. But roots become entwined when redwood trees grow together in a grove. The result is that the stand of trees has much greater strength than any tree could have standing alone; therefore, they support each other. The joining together provides the longevity and endurance to grow tall.
Everyone Is Important
Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 1 Corinthians 12:20–22 (NLT)
Standing alone, we can accomplish very little, but as we allow God to knit our hearts together, He causes us to grow, flourish, and be a blessing to those around us.
The body of Christ is indeed a mystery and a miracle. It is not something that man could put together, but God fits and knits us together for his purpose and glory.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)
In the words of Dr. Reuben Welch, former professor, and university chaplain, “We really do need each other.”