Monday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (NKJV)
12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts.
And yet I show you a more excellent way.
We all seek a purpose and a place in life, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. All of that is exactly what is given us in Holy Baptism. “We were all baptized into one body,” the Body of Christ, the Holy Christian Church. Thus all the baptized are part of something bigger. And we are not insignificant parts, but integral parts, as St. Paul teaches in today’s reading, members of Christ’s body with a purpose and a place, divinely appointed and arranged for each one.
The Corinthian Christians all yearned to speak in tongues, but Paul likens that to all having the same function in the body, which would be useless. No, he says. God appoints different people to different purposes. Some are openly honorable, like the ministers of the Church, or, in apostolic times, like those who performed miracles or spoke in tongues. But other members, who do not appear so honorable, are given their own function in the Body of Christ as well as their own honor.
The pastor, for example, is seen by all and should be respected by all because of his office. But the quiet laywoman who struggles through pain to get to church, or the handyman who keeps the building from falling apart may be highly praised and regarded by their pastor and fellow members. And the elderly widow who needs constant help at her home receives that help from her fellow members and is thus honored in her weakness. In any case, as St. Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 13, love must be at the heart of every Christian’s function in the one Body of Christ.
We pray: Lord, we thank You for making us members of Your Son’s Body. Help us to serve You faithfully and to appreciate our fellow members. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.