1 Corinthians 12: 12, 14-22, 26 “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body-so also is Christ. So the body is not one part, but many. If the foot should say ‘because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body’, in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say ‘because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body’, in spite of this it still belongs to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, but one body. So the eye can’t say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’ Or again, the head can’t say to the feet ‘I don’t need you!’ But even more, those parts of the body that seem weaker are necessary. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
Through the entire letter to the Corinthians, Paul is addressing some of the issues that have come up in regard to the behavior of church members - morality issues, some failures that needed correction. From these verses above we can gather that the issue being addressed is the way the church members were regarding one another. Some were self-deprecating, others were condescending. Bottom line? Not acting in love to one another, superiority, and an incorrect view of themselves.
The first word that comes to mind as I consider how the Corinthian church was behaving, as well as some in the modern day church is behaving, is regard. The second word that comes to mind is unity. God’s intention for us is to be vitally connected to the church, often referred to as a family. In this scripture, the church is referred to as a body, with each part of that body being equally important, and being mutually loved and cared for. How can we sometimes regard others in this body in an unhealthy way? How can we sometimes regard ourselves in an equally unhealthy way? It’s not that difficult to recognize in oneself when pride, smugness, and self-importance rears its head. It’s a little trickier when it comes to self-deprecation. That can look a little like “humility”. But is it really? To not take one’s place in the church body, to feel that one is insignificant isn’t humility-it’s actually another form of pride. If God places value on us, if He declares that we are necessary for the health of the body, then to say otherwise isn’t humility, it's arrogance.
There come times in each of our lives when we need support, prayer, and encouragement when we are the “weaker members” for a time. Tim (my husband) and I have been so incredibly blessed these past few weeks with that exact thing that we needed, and all because we are in a body that understands its purpose, its God-given calling. As awesomely comforting and uplifting as this has been for Tim and me, I want to make sure that I am watchful to be in that place to “suffer when another suffers” and “rejoice when another is honored”. This body we are in is God’s design for us to thrive. To grow in health. It's a mutual lifeline for the good times and the trying times. It is truly one of God's abundant blessings.