“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
As part of the discussion of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul brings out the concept that we as individual members of the Lord’s church form “the body of Christ.” The metaphor is developed by relating the members of the church to the parts of a physical body — any of us could correspond to the head or the hand or the foot or the eyes or the ears, etc.
The main point to be understood is that we shouldn’t focus on exactly which part of the body we are but rather appreciate that it takes all of us to make up the full body of Christ. Some of the logical questions asked in that chapter to make this point are:
- Can the ear say if I’m not the eye, I don’t want to be part of the body?
- If everyone is an eye, how will the body hear (or smell)?
- Should the head tell the feet I don’t need you?
- Are there any parts of the body that are not needed? (Even the parts we hide and don’t talk about have very important functions)
A metaphor that I like to use to illustrate this point is a puzzle. If you’ve ever put together a puzzle, then you know that you start with a box of individual pieces — perhaps 1,000 pieces. If you examine the pieces, you’ll find that no two are exactly alike — they are different shapes, sizes and colors; some are corner or border pieces; some form the part of the picture that everyone will look at while others blend into the background.
Which of these puzzle pieces would you say are unnecessary? Well, if even one piece is missing, the picture is incomplete and it won’t look right. When this happens — and I speak from experience — you’ll leave the 999 other pieces on the table and literally crawl around on the floor with a flashlight, looking for the missing piece. And, when you find it — HOORAY! It doesn’t matter what type of piece it was — what matters is that the picture was incomplete and now it’s complete.
Now, think of yourself as one of those puzzle pieces. Regardless of how different you may be from any other piece of the puzzle, you’ve been selected (by God) to be part of the big picture — part of the body of Christ.
Which of us is an unnecessary part of the body of Christ? Each of us has been given spiritual gifts and each of us has a role to play. And, the more we connect with each other and the more that each of us contributes to the overall effort, the more successful we will be as the body of Christ.
In Mormon 2, Mormon assumes the position as “head” of the Nephite army. Clearly, his gifts have been recognized in spite of him being only 16 years of age. During the first year of Mormon’s leadership, the Nephites find themselves under attack by the Lamanites in various cities. Instead of allowing the Lamanites to pick off the individual small groups, Mormon gathers the Nephites together:
“And it came to pass that we did gather in our people as fast as it were possible, that we might get them together in one body” (Mormon 2:7)
Forming a single “body” puts the Nephites in the best position to take on the enemy. As it turns out, many Nephites are killed anyway, but it is noted that this is because “they did not repent of their evil doings” (verse 8). Clearly, this body of Nephites was not the body of Christ.
We, however, are the body of Christ. So, let’s be the best eye, ear, hand, foot we can be — appreciating that we are, in fact, part of the body of Christ. Also, let’s do our best to stay connected to each other — the other parts of the same body. As a unified body, we will be in the best position to take on the enemy. We already know that the victory will go to Christ, but let’s do our best to be a part of that victory as the present-day body of Christ.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.