Thursday, February 28, 2013

I'd Rather Be a Stomach

I Corinthians 12:12-27

I've considered this passage many times.  In fact, it is a standard to come back to when talking about people working together in the church.  I think it has gotten so familiar, I've stopped really looking at what it means.  Of course, it always helps when you read a passage in several different translations.  You can't just zone our while you're reading a familiar passage when the words are so different.  It does help you catch the meaning differently when you read with different words.

In the VOICE, there was use of the words whine and pout.  This time, as I read this passage, I realized we tend to react sinfully in two polar opposite ways when we are not reacting appropriately in the body of Christ.  We are either self-critical and whiny and pouty OR we are prideful and act superior.  Which do you tend to do?  I find that people think they are being humble and obeying God if they do not act prideful.  I think this passage would say whining and being self-critical is not true humility either.  It is also a sin.  True humility and working well in the body of Christ is accepting where God has placed us and acting to the best of our ability in that roll--not trying to take anyone else's and not saying "we're not worthy."

Every time I've read this, I skim over I Corinthians 12:22  "On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,"   (NIV)  What are the weaker parts of the body?  I've never really stopped to think it through.    Well, the MESSAGE gives me a different way to think about it:  "As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way--the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary.  You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. . . If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?"  There is no part of the body more valuable than others.  I have had difficulties with various parts of my body and am so thankful when they work like they should.  Any body, including the body of Christ works best when all parts are working like they should and not just taking up space or trying unsuccessfully to take over the job of another part.

Verse 25-26 really struck me this time.  You don't think about all parts of your body being mutually dependent on one another while they are all working smoothly and doing their job.  My physical body is a testimony to the truth of these verses:  "That way there should be no division in the body; instead, all the parts mutually depend on and care for each other.  If one part is suffering, then all the members suffer alongside it.  If one member is honored, then all members celebrate alongside it."  (VOICE)  How true this is and how little thought we put into it.  The left side of my body functions like it should, but since the right side "suffers" it effects my whole body.  I am in a wheelchair, my balance is terrible, my temperature control is off, my vision is double, just to name a few.  "When one member is suffering, then all members suffer alongside it."  This is true in your physical body and true in the body of Christ.  When one member suffers, we are all impacted and should work together to help restore them to health.  When one member is honored, we should celebrate, not try to cut them down and harm them which will in turn harm the whole body.  

I looked at this passage in a whole new way.  What about you?  What are your thoughts?

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Thanksgiving for today
547.  Balance
548.  Cooking Smells
549.  Leftovers requested for school lunches
550.  Apologies with suggestions for improvement


  1. Okay, I believe the whole body works together & each part effects the other, because all our cells in our body are connected. I do believe that's true for the body of Christ as well. But help me with this, if there is no body part that is more valuable than the other, than why can't the human body live without certain organs? It was mentioned it can live without an eye... but it can't live w/o a stomach. So wouldn't the stomach be more valuable? This may sound silly...but I'm trying to understand this...
    I do see this is in the body of Christ though, each & every member are of equal value. No one is more valuable than the other.
    Help...Shelli Nowlin :/

  2. I don't know all the answers. So, those of you out there who want to join this coversation please do. I have been thinking a lot about this in the past day or so. I think the passage is talking about what we put value on. An eye which can help us see is not more valuable than a stomach--which helps with digestion. Is sight more valuable that digestion? Is life really the most valuable of all? Philippians 1:21 says "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." So, Paul did not really value life on Earth over eternal life in Heaven. I think the passage is trying to tell us to quit placing and order of value on body parts (or parts of the Church). For a healthy body, all parts must be healthy and must work together. And, our human brains cannot fully understand every aspect of every part of the body. Only God can. Your appendix for example, seems to have to function. However, when it is sick, it definitely effects the rest of the body. What are your thoughts out there?