Crossroads: The Body of Christ

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1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Your Story

Talk about a time in your life when you had to work as a team with others. Talk about what your role was and how each person had a different role. What were you trying to accomplish? Did working as a team help you do it? Was it easy or difficult to work together?

My Story and the Bible Story

When I was a teenager, we often did a skit about the body of Christ in our youth group. It always started with saying “We are the body of Christ, the body of Christ, the body of Christ. The body of Christ needs all its parts to work. Except for…” And then we would say a part of the body (eyes, hands, feet) that we didn’t think we needed. But the tricky thing was after that you had to act like you didn’t have that part of the body. So when we said “the body of Christ needs all its parts to work. Except for the feet,” you had to fall on the ground and pretend like you no longer had feet. When we said “except for the eyes,” you had to close your eyes and pretend like you could no longer see. It didn’t take long to realize that in order for our bodies to work the best way they can, we need all of our parts. It’s the same way with the body of Christ. In order for us to fully be the Church that God has called us to be, we need everyone working together to be Jesus in the world.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a. From The Message: “You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, ‘I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,’ would that make it so? If Ear said, ‘I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,’ would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, ‘Get lost; I don’t need you’? Or, Head telling Foot, ‘You’re fired; your job has been phased out’? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the ‘lower’ the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your ‘part’ mean anything. You’re familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his ‘body’: apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helpers, organizers, those who pray in tongues. But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called ‘important’ parts. But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.””

We all have a part to play in the body of Christ. When we say “the body of Christ”, we mean the Church. The Church is made up of people who are following Jesus and doing what Jesus wants them to do. Because of that, we are the body of Christ since He is no longer physically on this earth. It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an adult, a minister or a volunteer, a teacher or a singer. Whoever you are, you are important. You matter in the body of Christ. There are things you can do better than anyone else. God has created you with gifts, and He wants you to use them to show others who Jesus is.

Action and Discussion

• As a family, talk about the gifts/talents of each person in the family. Talk about ways these can be used in the body of Christ.
• If you are not already using your gifts for the body of Christ, find ways this week to use them. For instance, if you are a great encourager, find someone who is having a hard day and encourage them. Of if you like to help, ask others how you can help them this week.

Prayer

Thank our wonderful Creator for giving you the gifts you have. Ask God for helping in knowing how to use them.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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