1 Cor 12:12, 18 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
This whole passage (12-20) is extremely important in understanding interpersonal relationships and inter-church relationships. I’m not sure I had ever caught the connection between these two verses before. Not only are people and churches different, it’s because God planned it that way! We have such a strong tendency to seek out people like us. In a way that’s very good, because we need to have unity of faith, but in every other area it’s divisive and malignant. It’s important for us to realize that Paul had to deal with this issue in the 1st Century, so it should come as no shock that we still have to deal with it in the 21st. When we think of our physical bodies, the idea of just an eye rolling around, or an ear (how would it move?) is humorous, but we don’t apply that truth very well on a larger scale. Paul’s point is that individuals are necessary to each other, and differing churches are likewise necessary in God’s scheme of things. We are to rejoice in our diversity while maintaining unity of faith and love. Since we are the Body of Christ, our purpose is to do what He wants, and nothing less.
Since I am gifted over a wide spectrum (I qualified in every area when given aptitude tests by the Army) I have had trouble grasping the reality that I indeed need other people, besides my wife, that is. That has been a major hindrance to my ministry. Simply because I could, it seemed easier to do everything myself than to train others to do each part, and for many years that’s what I did. However, that makes for a very pastor-centered church with immature believers, and that’s exactly what I got. I certainly regret that now! The coaching seminars I’ve been attending for over a year now, with their emphasis on “The 7 Essences of the Church,” have pointed that out very clearly. As a matter of fact, I’ll be speaking on “Jesus-Centered” in the seminar that starts today, specifically from the standpoint of how hard I’ve found it to maintain that. When I’m focused on my abilities I’m not focused on Jesus, and that’s the root problem.
Father, thank You for pointing this out so clearly right now, when I’ve been unsure of exactly what I was to say in the seminar. I pray that everything about the seminar, and not just my session, may go exactly as You desire and intend, to build up the Body of Christ indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!