Our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 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.” 1 Corinthians 12:18-21
Yesterday we saw how Paul drew attention to the problem of inferiority complexes in the Church. In today’s verses, he centres on the problem of superiority complexes. He points out how absurd it would be for one part of the body to look down on another part and suggest that it wasn’t needed. Paul laughs at that kind of thinking, pointing out how ridiculous it would be if a body only had one part. The only way that a body can work is by it having very different parts, and the Church is just the same. We may find it difficult to be in a church in which people are so different from us, but we absolutely rely on other people’s differences in order to be the Church. Diversity is, in fact, the only way to achieve unity.
We must never be tempted to look down on other people’s gifts, even if they seem strange to us. It is vital that we find ways of affirming one another and I think we have a special responsibility to spot those gifts that have a low profile. When did you last thank the people who run the crèche, children or youth groups? Or how about those who work in the church office or do the cleaning? Many jobs in the life of a church have become hugely more complex over the last few years. I am delighted that churches take safeguarding so seriously but that involves a great deal of demanding work. The role of treasurers has also become much more complex. The changes have been wise and lead to much greater accountability. All of that is excellent, but it involves people in work that is both incredibly important and hidden away. We need to make sure that they all know that they are loved and appreciated and that their gifts are invaluable to the Church.
Who in your church is most easily overlooked and how might you be able to show your appreciation to them?
Lord God, help me to value all the different gifts that you have given to your Church. Help me particularly to encourage those whose gifts are most easily overlooked. Amen