During our creativity courses, everyone joins in doing a corporate project together. We each have a piece of card the same size and shape. It’s sometimes a sheep-shape, and we all decorate it to make it personal to us, a representation of who we are. Then we put all our little sheep together on a background that represents the sheepfold. By the end of the weekend, we are always amazed at the diversity, every single sheep is different, no two are even similar, and no-one knows whose sheep is whose. It’s such a great picture of the Body of Christ: everyone unique and precious, all on equal footing, no one ‘sheep’ any more important than any other.
Paul tells us that in all our differences and diversity, we each have our own special part to play in the Body, and in doing it we each help the others to grow, so that the whole Body is healthy and growing and full of love (Ephesians 4:16).
The problem is, sometimes we just don’t think we have anything to offer. Knowing this, Paul writes about different parts of our physical body, the foot and the ear, as if they feel insignificant and unimportant. He even makes it sound as if the foot is jealous of the hand (1 Corinthians 12:14-27)! When you think about it, our hands are usually seen, whereas feet are often hidden in shoes under a desk or table. We put hand cream and rings on our hands, not so much our feet. Hands can write, draw, paint, play a musical instrument, craft beautiful woodwork or masonry, embroider an intricate tapestry or cook a delicious meal. You can understand how it would be easy for the foot to look at those gifted hands and think, ‘I don’t matter! No-one notices me! I don’t belong. I might as well give up.’
Of course, the truth is: the body struggles without a foot. Feet are very important. If your church only had the pastor and no-one else, how would it function? No-one to put the chairs out or serve the coffee. No-one to sit on the chairs or drink the coffee. No musicians. No corporate praise and worship. No-one to share relationship with, to listen, to care and pray for one another. No-one to pray for the work of the church. No-one to connect with our families, neighbours and friends. No-one to take the love of God out to the world around us.
Nobody’s nobody in the Body of Christ. Just as God doesn’t ask a foot to be a hand, He only asks you to be who He made you to be, the unique and individual person you are, and to exercise the precious gifts He’s given you. So, whether you’re the leader or one of those precious people serving faithfully and quietly behind the scenes, as you do the special work God has given you to do, you’re helping the other members grow, so that the whole Body can become healthy and growing and full of love.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the privilege of being a member of Your Body. And thank You that within Your Body, we’re all unique and different … and everybody is somebody … and nobody is nobody. Please help me to really know that in my heart, and to joyfully exercise the precious gifts You’ve given me, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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