Scripture Reading: Romans 12:4-5 (English Standard Version)

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,

5  so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Thought for the day:

In our verses today, we read a theme that is repeated several times throughout the writing of Paul’s epistles. He refers to ‘the body’ and its members on numerous occasions and highlights different aspects in the various epistles. In Corinthians he uses the analogy of the body in order to bring to light sinful divisions. In Colossians, he states that Christ is the Head, and from Him, the entire body is held together by joints and ligaments and grows. When writing to the Ephesians, Paul focuses on the unity of all believers in Christ and describes the Church as being one body in Christ. The theme of the body and believers being members of that body occurs again and again. 

I’ve heard many preachers talk about this subject and whenever I hear the messages, I’m always struck with the impression that the preacher believes that the members are not equally important. I guess I know what they’re trying to say but when you refer to someone who isn’t particularly active within the church as ‘a little toe’, you have to assume that they’re not as important as the person who’s referred to as an arm! I’ve even heard people compared to ‘a grumbling appendix’ but that is very unkind. Firstly, I don’t believe that the analogy of the body should be extended beyond the basic concept. I really don’t think that we should look around our church and match each person with a part of the human anatomy. I don’t consider this to be the point of the concept. So, what is the point? Particularly here in Romans, we see a focus on the unity of the body, but also we see a diversity that is planned and purposeful. Note that I’m using the word diversity and not division. None of us are the same but that doesn’t mean we are divided. We are called to be one body that grows together and ‘feels’ together. We share mutual needs and benefits as we are united in Christ. 1 Corinthians says ‘But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.’ This highlights that God has planned this diversity. It isn’t an accident. There is also a purpose that we all have. Leaving aside our individual purpose, we are called together to work with, to bear with and to grow with each member of the body. God has a collective purpose for His Body and that is to reflect His glory and to do what He calls us to do.

Prayer and Application:

It is easy to get caught up in our own activities and plans but my prayer today is that we pay more attention to the needs of others as part of one body in Christ.