I have been contemplating over the last several weeks of what it means to be One Body? When I say this I am talking about the "body of believers" the "christian body" the "church". What does it mean to be One Body? In looking for my answer I must go to scripture and the scripture that this question arises from is in Romans:
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
This verse tells me that we all should function together in the body of believers. That being of one body requires unity and reliance on each other and not ourselves.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
These verses tell me that we are all gifted differently, but each gift is important and necessary to the unity and cohesion of the body. You see the example of this same thought again in 1 Corinthians:
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] 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. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 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. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 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!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unrepresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12: 12-26
So these verses is where my pondering begins and where I really begin to contemplate how we should be as "the body". Because when I read these verses in 1 Corinthians it tells me that all parts of the body are important and one is not more important than the other. Yes it would be nice to be the eye over the little toe, or the head over the rear. But this verse tells me that all are equally necessary and important to complete God's great work here on earth.
In saying all that I have to wonder if we as Christians are getting it wrong in church? Please hear me say that I am merely relaying my opinion that I have been pondering for a short time and am not implying that I have all the answers. If anything I am airing out self conviction and wondering if others have pondered the same thing. BUT I say that and wonder, there is a saying in churches that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. You will find in a "church body" that often it is not a unit working cohesively but some parts working hard while others do not. I also wonder if these verses are saying that our pastors and our church staff are too heavily relied upon. As I read these verses I imagine that the pastor would be the mouth of the body, but that mouth can not do God's work without the rest of the body? So why do we rely on the pastor to do the work of the whole body?? And why do we not see that we are just as important to God in the body of believers as a Pastor or church staff?
Also in reading these passages it has made me realize that we should be aware of what our gifts are, but also what are weaknesses are. If we know what our strenghts
To me these passages are saying that a church doesn't function off of a "staff" but off of the family of believers coming together with all their talents to Glorify God. That the one who folds the bulletin is just as important to the body as the one who checks the million dollar budget. That the the one who dusts the sanctuary is just as important as the one who teaches the Sunday school class. That the one who fills the baptismal is just as important as the one who baptizes the new believer. etc..
I don't know about you but I personally have not been thinking about "church" this way. I don't know if our churches think this way? Do we see our members as important as our pastors? Obviously there is scripture that would back up that our pastors are held to a higher regard and have more responsibility within the body. BUT don't these verses say that the body can not function without all the parts functioning together?
I guess in all my pondering I think that the conclusion I have come to in study and prayer, is that a church "body" can only be unified if it is utilizes the full body. and the church members should be ready to do their job in the body that they have been blessed with. True unity does not come until ALL parts of the body are working together to Glorify God, once this is happening than I believe "church happens".
Tell me your thoughts on my ramblings of being "ONE BODY"????
Love and Prayers - Dawn