Who wouldn’t agree? The human body is amazing. Just take a moment to think about how everything is wired together and operates together and it doesn’t take long for the awe-o-meter to start to rise.
Over the last year I’ve start playing Pickleball on a consistent basis. That I can see the ball, process where I need to be to hit the ball, then move to the ball and sometimes actually hit the ball, even getting it back over the net occasionally, is an awe-inspiring display of how brain, nerves, muscles, and bones all work together to perform a somewhat precise task with no extended planning but on a reaction basis. And then it all resets in a split second and tries to do it over and over again. Just one example, but you get the idea. The body is amazing.
That’s the big idea I’m chewing on as I read the twelfth chapter of 1Corinthians this morning. The body is amazing.
It’s no accident that God uses the human body as the object lesson for the body of Christ. Many parts. Some visible, some invisible. Many members. Some performing a variety of tasks, others given one thing to do–and to do well and to do over and over again.
A variety of gifts, a variety of services, a variety of activities, but the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God who empowers them all in everyone (12:4-6). But though the body is marked by a ton of diversity when it comes to the individual parts, it is still ONE BODY, and
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
(1Corinthians 12:7 ESV)
For the common good. That’s the specific phrase I’m chewing on.
Each member of the body using the gifts apportioned by the Spirit as the Spirit wills, through whatever specific services and activities they find to do, do what they do to “produce what is beneficial” (CSB) for the whole body. “Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits” (MSG).
How foreign this idea of the “common good” has become to so many in the church as we have been sucked into the spirit of our surrounding individualistic culture. The spirit of the age even co-opting the idea of a personal relationship with Christ. I think the term is intended to mean that I can know God personally, as in one-on-one, because of the finished work of the cross, through His word, and by His indwelling Spirit. Instead, we’re more prone to act out this personal relationship with how I can best personalize it for me.
Does the church meet my needs? What good is it doing for me? How does it fit with my schedule? What pieces do I like and will leverage, and what parts will I simply disconnect from ’cause they’re not quite in line with my personal preferences?
But how we need to view the body of Christ, and our part within it, in terms of the common good. And this becomes easier, I think, if we really believe that while we might think we chose the church we’re attending, God has, in fact, chosen us for the amazing body of believers He would have us be part of.
But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.
(1Corinthians 12:18 ESV)
As He chose. That’s why I’m part of the fellowship I’m part of. That’s where whatever spiritual gifting I’ve been given needs to be functioning.
And not just so I get my needs met–though the body, when it’s functioning properly, builds all its members up in love (Eph. 4:16)–but for the common good.
By His grace. For His glory.