Wednesday, November 11
Scripture: Job 37-38, 1 Corinthians 12
1 Corinthians 12:12–13 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 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.
In chapters 12-14, Paul teaches on the proper understanding and use of spiritual gifts. He views the church as the body of Christ. Just like a human body has many different parts that make up the unified whole, so it is with the body of Christ. We have different gifts, yet we are one. We cannot say, “I don’t belong because I’m different,” nor “I don’t need you because you’re different.”
All of this is about spiritual gifts—until Paul also introduces racial and social differences in v. 12: Jew and Gentile, slave and free. These differences are also to be celebrated within the unified body.
We all tend to congregate with those who are like us—like us in age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, politics, culture, music, interests. The list goes on. But when we are exclusive, when we hang out only with those like us, Paul says that we cease to be the body and become a large eyeball or ear or hand or foot. “How strange a body would be if it only had one part!” (v. 19)
Yet this is the condition of many local churches. They are an eyeball or a foot, but not a body. Everyone is the same race, politics, age, etc. No diversity. No differences. All the same. “How strange,” Paul says.
The church is the one place where all our differences become secondary to this: Jesus is Lord. If we can’t unite around Jesus and celebrate our differences, then I don’t think we’re worshiping Jesus as Lord; I think we’ve made idols of our differences.
Most to the point right now, I think today Paul might add political differences to the list. The church must have Democrats and Republicans and Independents. If not, we’ve united around something other than Jesus, and that is idolatry.
Prayer: Lord, help our church—and churches all across our city and country—to be united around Jesus and diverse on other things. Help us to truly live out our creed that Jesus is Lord. Nothing else.