A toe stubbed on a coffee table is one of those pains that will quickly cause tears to fill the eyes, or if no tears are spilled, usually an outburst from the mouth will seemingly relieve the pain. Smacking the tender part of the knee on a desk causes at least a contorted face if not more of a yell, and of course, the beloved “funny bone” contacted with anything at all, seems to end the world as we know it.
Have you ever noticed that if one part of your body is hurt, your whole body seems to feel it too? No matter what part it is, at least one other part will have a reaction to the pain as well. The same thing happens the other way around too. Happiness is usually felt by the whole body and not just one part.
For example, chocolate and coffee (or tea, for the tea fans) is not only enjoyed by the tongue, but by the soul too. Sleep is not only a pleasure to the eyes and brain, but the whole body feels the relaxation and enjoys it together (especially one’s feet, they love going to sleep so much that they throw a tantrum with pins and needles when you go to stand….).
I love how, in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul illustrates the Christian family as a physical body; in fact, 1 Corinthians 12 verse 12 is specifically quoted often to sum up the chapter, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (ESV)
And though this verse does, in fact, get the point of the chapter across, I’ve felt that some people may, or may have at some time in their life, said, “Well, we may all be one body, but I’ve just got the job of a toenail,” or, “I’m just the eyelash; I have a purpose, but I just seem to make everything worse for the important guy who’s the eye.”
Honestly, I’ve felt this myself at some points in my life, when I’ve watched friends of mine leading others to Christ, organizing Bible studies, and doing other things that I considered so much higher on the scale than praying for someone. But that’s why Paul didn’t make verse 12 the last verse of this chapter. He goes on to say in verses 23 through 26 (ESV) (emphasis mine):
“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 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.”
That just shatters those arguments doesn’t it? I love that Paul says “the parts that we think are less honorable”, not calling them less honorable as their title, but knowing full well that some will think that their part is less honorable than another’s and immediately building them up to reveal their potential.
God doesn’t see any part of the body as more valuable than another, and it’s amazing to know that He designed us to need each other without feeling the need to compete and cause division. We are all meant to thrive together; feel the pain together, as an eye cries when the heart hurts; and rejoice together, like the legs leap for joy when a friend brings good news to our ears.
We are all different, we all handle situations differently, but we are one body, one body that has been specially crafted by the Creator’s hands to go through life together, embracing our differences and seeing each other as having equal roles in the kingdom of God. Just think, the role of a blogger for Jesus is 100% equal to the apostle Paul’s role to bring others to the saving grace of Jesus! We all have the same goal, so there’s no need to start placing ranks. We just need to make sure that we are as attentive to our fellows in Christ as they are to us, because a family that grows together, stays together.
Have there been times when you’ve felt the shared pained/happiness with a brother or sister in Christ? Have you been in a position to be the one offering the shared experience to another? We’d love to hear your stories, tips, and scriptures in the comments!
Rayleigh Gray – Column: Tap Into Your Potential