What does it mean to be included in the Body of Christ or the local church? Sometimes I think we forget what this means and what it means for not only us as Christians in the local church but for those who come into our churches seeking out who God is.
Is there a part of the human body that is better than another part or more important? No, all parts of the human body are needed and equally important to make a person healthy and whole. This concept also works in the Body of Christ, the Church. Every person in your church is a part of the Body, no person is more important or better than another (God is no respecter of persons). No person is (or should be) needed more than someone else. People who are new to your church much less new to Christianity should be treated with the same importance and respect as anyone who has been in your church a long time.
Paul addressed this issue very clearly in 1 Corinthian 12:12-27 (NIV); “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 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. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are not presentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
In other words, we’re all in this together! It’s not about money, position or prestige – those are secular values we must guard against in the Church. It's not about how long you have been a Christian. It's not about the color of your skin or your culture. It's not about your politics. Everyone in the local church is important and valuable in God’s sight. Shouldn’t we treat our fellow believers as God sees them? Yes we should! I believe Paul makes it clear how we are to treat one another – remember he was inspired by God Himself.
As Christians, let’s show our world what unity really is! Let’s let them see something different in our churches – something they are truly searching for – the love and acceptance of Christ! I’m up for the challenge, are you?
Until next time,