When I was 9 years old, our pediatrician informed my parents that my Achilles tendons were too short and tight. This caused me to walk on my toes, and created a risk that one or both tendons might snap under pressure. So they scheduled two surgeries—one for each leg.
The recovery from each surgery was 3 months. So for 6 months straight I hobbled around on crutches. I was still able to live my life, but everything was harder and more complicated. Other parts of my body had to do more to compensate for each leg being out of commission for three months. When each of the casts were cut off, I noticed that my legs didn’t look the same. My calf muscles had shrunk and turned to Jello! It took a long time to get back to where I could run or climb with any kind of speed or strength.
When one part of the body is out of commission, the whole body is affected. In 1 Cor. 12, Paul reminds us that each and every part of the body of Christ is essential. The body is designed for all its members to carry out their roles. Each part is necessary for the body to function in a healthy manner. According to Paul, problems arise when the gifts of each member are undervalued.
1) When we undervalue our own gifts the body suffers. When any of us chooses to only be a spectator, then other members have to compensate for the loss of our gifts and service to the body. And our gifts can atrophy due to lack of use (just like my legs atrophied from 3 months in a cast).
2) When we undervalue the gifts of others the body suffers. Sometimes those who are gifted in certain areas have trouble appreciating those who are gifted in other areas. When God gives you a hammer, everything can start looking like a nail. Those who were given paint brushes are not going to share all your passions, but are just as important to the body. If God has made you an “eye” then the “foot” might seem unnecessary. But when those with different gifts are marginalized the whole body suffers.
This Sunday we will explore the purpose of spiritual gifts, looking primarily at 1 Corinthians 12. Let me encourage you to read over this passage several times. Ask yourself where you believe God has gifted you and for what purpose. How might your gifts serve the body of Christ? How might you encourage or equip another brother or sister to use their gifts in service to the body?