Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My wife came home from the hospital yesterday after spending four days recovering from abdominal surgery. She must take it easy when she eats, and she will not be able to return to work for three weeks. Her surgery started me thinking about problems humans have when their body parts are in a place they were not intended to function. In her case, her stomach had torn a hole in her diaphragm and was pressing against her lung. Ruptures of all kinds, dislocated joints, and even teeth growing in improperly are examples of this. Our youngest daughter had an incisor grow out from the center of her upper palate, and it had to be moved. As my boss used to say, "We have a place for everything, and everything needs to be in its place."

The same is true for the Body of Christ. There are two references that identify members of the Church as being part of the Body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 12:27, and Ephesians 4:12.

***In the context of the first, the Apostle Paul teaches us that God has ordained what part we are to play in His Body (1 Cor. 12: 4-6). He shows the purpose of the differing "members" (v. 7-11). Next, he tells his readers that each individual has his function, that none is more important than the other, that the Body must function as one, and that when one member suffers, all suffer (v. 12-26). Finally, Paul identifies the different members of the Body, and tells his readers each has limited and specific functions (v. 27-30).

***In the Ephesians passage, Paul begins by stressing the importance of holy living, humility, and patience with one another so that they will remain unified (Eph. 4:1-3; Jn. 17:21-23). The Godhead exemplifies unity in the building of the Church (v. 4-6). Paul tells us that we have received differing levels of faith (compare Rom. 12:3), and the effort Christ made to ensure we were properly equipped (v. 7-10). He provided leadership for His Body so that we would be prepared to do the work of ministry, and grow into maturity (v. 11-16).

Over the forty years I have been a Christian, I have observed many problems in the Church. I have seen "body parts" where they do not belong, and I have seen "body parts" that seem to have no function at all. I am not sure which is worse, but I suspect that a believer serving in a place to which God has not called him, is, because he prevents the right person from serving there, he is not gifted to provide what is needed, and as a result, he tends to do more harm than good. If you are a part of the Body of Christ, pray that the Lord will direct you and all the members of your church to be "in their proper places."

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