I'm starting a series of posts on by morning daily Bible reading. I will most likely not be posting daily, but hope to make several posts per week. Here's the first:
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. 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.
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 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. 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. 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? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
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" On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 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, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Paul uses the metaphor of the human body to describe the workings of the Church. Just as the human body is composed of many different and varied parts, with different specialized functions, so the body of Christ has many different members with many different purposes, given to them by God. When the parts of the body all function as intended, the body is healthy and able to carry out its intended function. When any of the parts fail to operate, there are repercussions that are not isolated to that one part.
The passage says clearly, "God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose." For every Christian, God has gifted him with specific functions in the body of Christ and has equipped him with every spiritual resource needed to fulfill that task.
Like the human body, the parts of the Christian body are to support each other. "... but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." This, as a side note, is a strong argument to get plugged into a Christian community - we are called to serve and support one another, and we need to be involved in each other's lives for this to happen effectively.
Finally, Paul describes some of the God-given callings - apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts, etc.
What does this mean for me? I need to always realize that when I decide to do things in my own strength, against what I know is right, this is not an isolated choice. My life should be being used to bring glory to God, not, intentionally or otherwise, be harmful to others in my life.
Additionally, every member of the body is important, despite how worldly thought might consider their calling. Those cleaning the church building to ensure a clean, safe, worshipful environment on Sunday morning is important, just like those delivering the message from God's word is important. If I see any member struggling, it is my job out of love for the Lord to come alongside that person for the glory of God and the benefit of the body.