Be Your Part
Be Your Part
Words of Faith 7-18-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Corinthians 12
 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Paul used the image of the Body to powerfully point out some of the silliness found in the way church folks act at times. The Corinthians believers had become divided because they had failed to recognize that they were the Body of Christ-- the people of God united by the Spirit in Jesus. One did not have to be a physician or biologist to realize that all the parts of the human body are important even if some are small and less prominent and even if we don't know the purpose of some parts.
One part of the Body cannot declare itself unnecessary. There are more prominent and less prominent parts and even some that deserve special modesty, but all were designed and put into place for a purpose. One part of the Body cannot declare itself super-important such that the other parts are not needed. One part cannot declare itself unneeded and separate itself from the Body.
Paul goes so far as to say that the parts that seem weaker are "indispensable". The word used here means necessary, needful or "close of kin". There are parts of the human body that appear weak and are hidden away, but they perform vital functions for the body.
The pancreas is a great example. The body cannot survive long without a pancreas. It monitors and balances the fuel sources for the entire body! Just try living without a pancreas. Actually, don't. You can't. If the pancreas were to decide that it was not important and that it would simply withdraw from the human body, the rest of the body would go haywire for a while and then grow blind and die. Likewise, if the more visible and prominent parts of the body took a vote and decided that the pancreas was unimportant and should be removed from the body, the same ravages would result.
In the human body, there are times when a part becomes sick or weak but there are also times when the body rejects its own part. Transplant medicine battles against rejection, but this problem can also occur with some diseases. The last thing you want is for a part of your body to withdraw, or for your body to reject a part of itself.
These may be the two most painful behaviors of the church-- withdrawal and rejection.
In the church Body, some parts choose to withdraw. It may be because they felt they were not needed. It may be because of a hurt that did not heal. It may be because of a snub or sleight. It may be just that a part grows complacent. Some may assume that because they did not play a visible role or they were not recognized that they should withdraw. Not only does this cause that part to wither, but the Body becomes weakened and sick without that part. Each part needs the nourishment and connection of the Body and the Body needs that part.
There are also times when the Body rejects one of its parts. Jesus noted the propensity of Israel to reject her prophets-- "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37). The Body will sometimes reject a message that it needs to hear, and with it, the messenger. The Body also sometimes confuses the sin and the sinner, rejecting a part of its own Body instead of battling the disease that was hurting that part.
There is a common saying among organizations that work together-- "Do your part". When people work together or live together in a community there is an expectation that all should pitch in to accomplish a goal or a common good. "We should all do our part" is the mantra of many associations and clubs. The church often falls into this same pattern of thinking. But Paul actually taught something quite different. Rather than "Do your part," he was teaching "Be your part".
If we take this corporeal illustration seriously, we realize that our place in the Body is not something that we do; it is something that we are. We don't fit because we can do a certain thing, but because we are a certain thing. We are needed in the Body of Christ not just because of what we can do, but because of who we are. We are not a collection of interchangeable "parts" that can be dismissed or gathered or scavenged from other places. Each of us is unique, needed, and indispensable. We share spiritual DNA... the Spirit of the Living God.
So here are a few questions. Have you become separated from the Body? The Body needs you, not for what you do, but for who you are. What you do may be vital, but who you are is eternal. And here is a question for the Body. (It is hard to ask a question of the Body because it does not often answer, but it needs to be asked...) Have you rejected a part of yourself? Have you built up anti-bodies against a part of the Body? Have you so favored one part of the Body that you have rejected another?
Father God, help us to be the church. Help me to be my part. Help me to recognize those who are different from me but who share the spiritual DNA of Christ and His Spirit. In Jesus' Name.