Speaking to the Soul – April 29


Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part…If the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 1 Corinthians 12:14,16-17

I love Paul’s sense of humour! He imagines a conversation going on within the body that is plainly ridiculous. It would be crazy if the ear were to complain that it wasn’t a proper part of the body because it wasn’t an eye. But, funny as it is, Paul is making a very serious point. He is talking about inferiority complexes – and they get everywhere. Many people in churches look down on themselves. Some think they don’t count because they are only a Sunday school teacher, or only a cleaner or only a newcomer. Paul wants to make it clear that, so far as God is concerned, there are no ‘only’ people in the Church. Every single person is vital.

Paul recognises that there is another problem as well – having a superiority complex, which is just as absurd. Paul imagines the eye saying to the hand: “I don’t need you” and the head saying to the feet: “I don’t need you” (v21). Not only would it be offensive for the parts of the body to talk to one another like that, but it would also be absolutely wrong – the eye does need the hand, the head does need the feet! In every organisation there tends to be a pecking order, so you can easily identify who is seen as the most powerful and important and who is seen as the least. But Paul protests that in the Church, just like in the body, everyone is absolutely crucial. We need to learn to treasure and value everybody, because God has placed them within the Church, and without them it would be unable to function.

Have you ever suffered from an inferiority complex or a superiority complex? If so, how does this passage help you?

Lord, help me to value the members of my church in the way that you do. Amen