An Army Chaplain tells the story of sitting in the Officer’s Club one rainy day. In fact, it was more than rainy. It was a storm. The winds were blowing fiercely. The rains were descending in sheets. Nearby, two officers’ wives were watching the storm through the big picture window.
Suddenly, through a flash of lightning, one of the women saw a soldier standing outside on guard duty totally at the mercy of the raging storm. “Oh dear”, she said, “Look at the poor soldier out there in the storm.”
The other woman caustically replied, “My dear, it’s perfectly alright. He’s only a private.”
Our text today dispels the attitude of “He’s just a __________” within the Body of Christ.
Apparently the divisive spirit in the Corinthian church had spawned such an attitude of superiority among some members. To dispel that notion, Paul used the analogy of the physical body to show how silly it is to think one member is more important than another.
It’s a cartoonish characterization of the foot saying, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body.” Or the ear saying, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body.”
Paul illustrates the absurdity of such a notion. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?”
The comparison is both obvious and compelling. “There are many members, yet one body.” And none of the members can say “I have no need of you.”
Consider these applications concerning the Body of Christ.
#1 The Rich Diversity of the Members.
Just like human body possesses a diversity of members, so also does Christ’s spiritual Body. The church is composed of people of different nationalities, education levels, social standing, occupation and age.
#2 The Mutual Dependance of the Members
No one, however, can function alone. Just like the members of the physical body depend on one another, so do we in the church. We need each other. Rely on each. And must stay connected to each other for spiritual nourishment and nurture.
#3 The Varied Duties of the Members.
This text speaks to the various roles and responsibilities of each member. My eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands and feet each have a role within my body. So it is spiritually. We all possess varied gifts, talents and abilities. Each of us learning, accepting and applying our unique gift within the Lord’s church adds to its effective working.
#4 The Common Importance of the Members.
All are important. Period. There are no big Christians and little Christians. There are no big preachers and little preachers. Serving as a pastor or preacher within the church does not make me more important, but does call for greater responsibility and accountability
#5 The Community of Feeling among the Members
It’s obvious that the physical body is self-protective. When an object is hurled at my eye, I instinctively raise my right hand to protect it. Or move my head away to avoid it. Within the church, Paul says we need to have “the same care for one another.” Indeed “we rejoice that those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).
#6 The Harmonious working of the Members.
In verse 12 the word “one” is used three times. God wants us to be “one body.” He desires unity, harmony and a reciprocal relationship within the Body. We are to function in concert with one another. That, of course, requires effort, demands self-discipline, and calls for humility.
Finally, A. W. Tozer illustrates it this way. “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”
To achieve the unity Paul proclaimed, we must all seek to be in harmony with Christ and attuned the standard of His Word.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman