“But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary…”
1 Corinthians 12:20–22
Every time I read this text, it reminds me of a terrific story my mother used to tell us as children, that has stayed with me for many years. The story, a whimsical tale about feuding body parts, reminds me of the overt egotism that sometimes occurs after accepting a church office or position. The story goes like this.
One day, all the body parts were having a discussion concerning which organ was the most important to the body. The eyes said, “I am the most important because I help us to see!” The nose said, “I am the most important because without me we can’t smell the wonderful food we eat!” The mouth said, “Well, without me, there would be no food!” The stomach growled, “Ump! I consume the food that gives energy to the entire body!”
Little by little all the body parts professed their overall importance to the body-at-large. Every organ was involved in the debate except one. After every organ had spoken their part, and the yelling was over, they heard a small voice coming from the bowels. “I think I am the most important because I get rid of all the things we don’t need, keeping the body clean so we can function…and…” —Before the bowels could finish giving the others his rationale, the other parts began to scream with laughter. “What? Ha, ha, ha! They were hysterical! “You? --You can’t really believe you are the most important!” They all yelled, “--It may not be me, but one thing is for sure--it’s not you!”
Bowels was a little embarrassed, but stood firm. He tried to figure out what he could possibly do to get the others to understand how vital he was to the whole body. Then it hit him, “Okay, to show you how important I am to each of you; and, that you cannot function without me, I am going to shut down for 3 days.” They all laughed even harder! “ --Ha, ha, ha! Big deal!”
The first day, all the body parts were fine; they were laughing and teasing bowels that all was still wonderful in the body without him. The second day, the parts were a little sluggish, but still functioning as usual. But, by the third day, eyes couldn't stay open, nose was congested, heart was beating slower, legs were tired, and stomach wouldn't eat. One by one, all the parts said, “What’s going on?” “I don’t feel well! “We’re not moving properly!” “Oh no! I just want to lay down.” Bowels began to laugh. “See, I told you! --Now do you believe me?” One after another, they pleaded with bowels to do his job so that they could function properly. As he started to work, each body part acknowledged that the bowels were the most important body organ and they could not function without him.
This story always reminds me of the text found in 1 Corinthians 12:20-25, in its reference to the body of Christ. Sometimes, we forget how important all members are to a church, not simply for their monetary contributions, but for their very presence.
Yes, all members are important in a church organization; from the pulpit to the pews, from hospitality to sanitation, from the youngest child to the oldest adult; each brings significance to the body of Christ. Not one is disposable, —not one. But the most important One is the One who washes our sins away. The One who continuously cleanses the body, frees the mind, and renews the spirit—Jesus Christ. L.
Study Reference: 1 Corinthians 12:20-25, Ephesians 4:15-16
From; "One, Unifying." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell