Have you heard the expression “no man is an island”? To be “an island” implies that one is completely independent in life and that his or her actions do not affect others. A long time ago I often thought I was an island alone in the sea: not that I didn’t need anybody, but I thought nobody needed me or even noticed my life. I just believed I was unimportant to others, that I didn’t have an effect or impact or anything to offer. Then I entered a home where I attended my first Way Ministry fellowship, and suddenly I became important. In fact, everybody in that fellowship was treated with importance; everybody was appreciated.
What was going on here? There were people in this fellowship from different walks of life, with different levels of education, different ages, and different abilities. Why did everybody matter so much to each other? What did this group of people know and understand? So my quest began…to learn why all of God’s people are important—not only to God but to each other—and to learn how God’s people show that importance to each other.
A section of scripture in I Corinthians 12 will help us find the answer to why. Then we’ll look in the Book of Romans to better understand how. I Corinthians 12:27 declares that born-again believers “are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” As we study the context of this verse, we’ll see that there are no unimportant people where God is concerned. No one is an island—each of us needs others, and others need us in the Body of Christ. That’s how God designed it.
Let’s begin our study of I Corinthians 12 in verse 12 to learn why we matter so much to God and to each other.
I Corinthians 12:12:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
“So also is Christ” refers to the Body of Christ. Just like the human body, the Body of Christ is one body that is made up of many members. We all know that even though there are many members in the human body, all the members work together to function as one body. God is showing us that the same is true of the Body of Christ—all the members “are one body.” Let’s read on.
I Corinthians 12:13:
For by [with] one Spirit [God] are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews [Judeans] or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit [spirit, the gift of holy spirit].
“Baptized into one body” and “have been all made to drink into one Spirit” refer to the new birth. All born-again believers are born into “one body,” the Body of Christ. A member of the Body of Christ is a born-again believer. What unites all the members in the Body of Christ is that we all partake of that gift of holy spirit. That gift to us all has the same origin, God. That means God’s spirit is in each born-again believer.
Each of us having the gift of God’s spirit means we’re all equipped with the same enablements. It unites us. The idea of a gift makes me think of the holiday time when I was growing up. There were three girls in our family and one boy. Often my mom bought all three girls the same kind of gift so no one felt slighted or left out. Whether it was a red sweater or a necklace with our birthstone, we each got one. It united us. No one seemed more important than another. In the Body of Christ, we all received God’s gift of holy spirit, making all of us equally equipped and of equal importance. Let’s see what else I Corinthians 12 can tell us about the Body of Christ.
I Corinthians 12:14:
For the body is not one member, but many.
Just two verses earlier God made the point that the Body has many members—and here He says it again. This is a very important truth that God is establishing for us. The one Body of Christ is not made up of only one member, but many members. Like the human body, the Body of Christ is a functioning together of many members.
I Corinthians 12:15 and 16:
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
These questions about the physical body are being asked to get us to think about our part in the spiritual Body. We know that even though one physical part is not another part, it is still “of the body.” So if one member in the Body of Christ thinks, “Just because I’m not this other member, then I must not be a member at all,” does that make it true? No, it doesn’t make sense. We can each function and contribute in different ways and still be “of the body.”…
This is an excerpt from the March/April 2010 issue of The Way Magazine.
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