Anyone who spends enough time studying the human body will probably find it extraordinarily fascinating. It truly is amazing that the cells, tissues, organs, and systems that exist in our body all work in conjunction with one another to make up the most well-designed machine ever made. Nevertheless, some of the body’s parts seem to be a little odd to have been included in the design. Even so, they have very important functions that God saw fit to include and that we couldn’t live without.
Take, for instance, the uvula, that little flap of tissue hanging down at the back of your throat. Seems a little strange to be there until you learn that it helps secrete saliva during the digestion process. Or what about the hyoid bone? This horseshoe-shaped bone, which is located in the throat, helps to work with your voice box (larynx) to make the broad range of sounds that we humans can produce. It’s also the only bone in the body that is not attached to any other.
While there is an endless supply of facts and trivia regarding the human body, we can easily see that we were designed in such a way as to be able to operate at our utmost efficiency when all of the parts of the body are working together. The same can also be said of the church, the body of believers who follow God and his Son, Jesus. The church is a body and every single member, or part of it, plays an integral role in its health and well-being. God knew, in his design of the church, the vital role of every member, and he used the analogy of the human body so we can better understand how we should function.
“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. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
(1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
In the passage above, we can see the design of the church, the body of Christ, and how it is meant to work properly. Several things are evident when we study this passage of scripture:
- There are many members in the body (1 Corinthians 12:14, 20). Just as the human body is made up of many parts, the body of Christ has many important parts as well. We may not notice all the inner workings of our own physical body, but they are there nonetheless, carrying out their functions and making the body run smoothly. So it is with the church as well.
- Everyone is valuable in the body (1 Corinthians 12:15-17). It’s common knowledge that some of our body parts steal all the headlines. The heart, brain, lungs, and other vital organs seem to be the most important parts of the body. But lose a toenail or have a major infection of the lymphatic system and you’ll soon realize how important these hidden parts really are. Likewise, every member of the church family is valuable. The church cannot completely fulfill its function without every part working as it should.
- Everyone has a purpose in the body (1 Corinthians 12:18, 24). As the previous point has eluded to, each member of the body of Christ has been placed purposefully in order that the church may operate efficiently and effectively. It is God who has placed us as he chose and given us the talents to perform our assigned tasks. We shouldn’t take the liberty to attempt changing his design or assume that we can improve upon what he has so perfectly created. Our job is to respect one another as equals and do our best to fulfill the next point in this post.
- Everyone should care for one another in the body (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). It doesn’t take us long to realize when something is wrong with our physical body. When we are stricken with illness or a debilitating injury, we quickly understand the importance of all the parts of our body. In the church, God desires that we exhibit a common purpose of serving him and his kingdom here on earth. In order to do that, we must look out for one another, sharing in each other’s sufferings and joys so that we may be stronger and more capable of facing the difficulties that Satan throws our way.
Just like the human body, the church is a complex organism designed to work properly when we work together. We are to always remember that Christ is our head, the lifeblood who we could never survive without. It is he who guides us and directs us in our endeavor to pursue righteousness and in our mission to seek and save the lost through the gospel message we’ve been entrusted with. We must all play our part in the body in order to make that happen.