November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”—1 Corinthians 12:15–20 (NIV)
Have you ever tried completing a puzzle? When I was a kid, I remember doing puzzles every once in a while. They were not my favorite form of entertainment; however, that changed when I first got Covid-19. In May of 2021, I tested positive for the virus while being in Georgia for my summer job. It was my first time really away from home and my first time with Covid—and puzzles were one of the activities that got me through twelve days of complete isolation without my family. I remember my puzzle was 500 pieces and depicted a beautiful ocean paradise with a sunset in the background, dolphins, coral reefs, other sea creatures, and a majestic waterfall in the left corner.
Despite providing me with a fun and entertaining challenge, this puzzle also reminded me of some essential truths in Scripture. One of those truths relates to our Scripture in 1 Corinthians today. In order to complete the puzzle, I had to recognize that each and every piece was just as necessary as the other. They were all shaped differently and displayed different images, yet they all fit perfectly into their place and together created the greater picture. This is a good image to think about when contemplating the body of Christ.
Paul literally uses the imagery of a body to relay his message to the Corinthians who were caught up in their own pride and self-righteousness. They were struggling with thinking their spirituality was some sort of competition, and this was creating disunity in the Church. They misunderstood the purpose of spiritual gifts, which is what Paul is talking about in this area of the letter and, as a result, they were misunderstanding the purpose of the body of Christ. Paul reminds them that a body would not be complete without an ear or an eye. An ear cannot stand alone apart from the eye and still be able to see and vice versa. An eye also cannot try to be an ear if it’s not made for hearing.
When we think about this image, we must then think about how the body of Christ can’t possibly stand alone if one person doesn’t embrace the gifts God has given them. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game, even as Christians. We begin to compare abilities or gifts. Someone gifted in teaching may get jealous of someone gifted in exhortation. Someone gifted in showing mercy might get jealous of someone gifted in administration. The possibilities are endless because we’re still imperfect human beings who struggle with the nature of our flesh. Thankfully, we have access to both the truth in God’s Word and to the Spirit of Truth who can help us identify those lies and reroute those destructive thoughts of comparison.
In order to foster unity in the body of Christ, we must remember that every one of us plays a role in His story. He invites us to come together in our differences knowing we have the same Creator, the same Holy Spirit, and the same saving grace of Jesus. We may each be different puzzle pieces, but each one of us matters. Let’s stand united as the body of Christ and fight off comparison with the truth in today’s Scripture!
Pause: How have you struggled with comparison between yourself and other believers?
Practice: Consider today’s analogy of a body and a puzzle. Think about what God has uniquely given you to contribute to the greater picture and the greater body of Christ. Write some of those things down and thank God for them.
Pray: Gracious Father, thank You for being so kind to me that You would invite me to be a part of Your bigger story! You not only saved me through the sacrifice of Christ, but You gave me purpose through His blood shed on the cross. That purpose involves serving and loving You forever and serving and loving the people around me, too. I am now part of a greater family, Your family, and I have a role to play in the family. Help me not to compare myself with others by keeping Your worship the main focus of my heart. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.