A Well-Functioning Church Body

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”—Romans 12:4–5 (NLT)

For years, I’ve had shoulder issues. Having played baseball for 14 years, I figure the wear and tear of throwing—an unnatural arm motion—is what did me in. But recently, my chiropractor explained that the issues with my shoulder actually emanate from some pretty serious spinal misalignment.

One serious issue in one part of my body has had significant impact on various other parts of my body. My spine is unable to perform all the functions it’s meant to offer to my shoulders and chest, thus making my shoulders and chest work overcompensate. Isn’t it interesting how an issue in one area made a such a difference to other areas? Isn’t this just a perfect representation of the Church? 

In today’s passage, the apostle Paul points out that the Church is like a body. And just like a body with different body parts that have different roles and perform different functions, each member of the body of Christ has a different role and is called to perform different functions using unique gifts. And just like a human body, the different members of the church body belong to one another; each part is accountable to one another and to the whole. 

For the local church to function properly, each part of the body needs to perform their role and operate in their calling. When that doesn’t happen, it puts strain on the other parts of the body, like it did with my shoulders and chest. And when one part of the body tries to fulfill the role of another part, things get out of whack. Imagine if your foot tried to be your mouth—it wouldn’t work and it would impact the rest of your body negatively. 

Now, as members of this body, from time to time we need to pick up a brother or sister who is having issues. Just like how my shoulder and chest take on extra weight for my spine, we are called to bear one another’s burdens. This is one of the beautiful things about the Church, and it’s something we should do willingly and gladly. This is different, though, from the times when the members of the body are simply not willing to perform their function or operate in their giftings. In these cases, we need to lovingly confront and challenge those parts of the body, lest they unnecessarily burden their brothers and sisters. 

So, let us walk in the gifts and roles the Lord has called us to. Let’s do our part so that the body will function properly and be effective in witnessing to the world and serving one another.

DIG: How is the Church like a body? 

DISCOVER: What happens when parts of the body stop operating in their gifts and roles? 

DO: If you’re not sure what your gifts are and what your role in the body of Christ is, speak to a pastor or leader at your church, take a spiritual gifts test, and most importantly ask the Spirit to guide you. 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.