The Body of Christ

This article was originally published in The World Invader: Students Living A Mission Monthly Newsletter, Issue 8, October 2003. You can read the whole edition here.

Romans 12:4-8

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 all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do.  And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. 

6 God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you.  7 If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well.  If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching.  8 If your gift is to encourage others, do it!  If  you have money, share it 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. 

The body of Christ is not an individual person, nor an individual group of persons; it is a worldwide coming together of a new people, a new nation - a new creation!  It is very easy to get caught up in our day-to-day in such a way that we forget that we are only parts of a whole.  Think about it: Would you make the same decisions you make on the day-to-day if you truly understood that you were part of a whole?

Sometimes I hear Sally Struthers’ voice echoing in the background of my decisions: “for the price of a cup of coffee, you could support a child to eat for a month.”  It’s not like I’m unfamiliar with poverty, I spent my childhood in the Philippines where most of my friends’ stomachs protruded with worms and ice was an incredible luxury.  I have friends in Africa whose children have died because they couldn’t afford a $2 medication, and most of these friends are about an inch taller thanks to the callous build up on the bottom of their feet from never having shoes. 

Should I feel ashamed for what I have?  It’s not my fault! I live in the United States of America. I work hard and have a family to support! This is what goes through my head. I have needs.  It’s not like I even have a lot of money. This is normal. I shouldn’t feel guilty. Should I have to suffer too?

(Silence…) 

Would I make the same decisions if I truly understood I was part of a whole? 

1 Corinthians 12:26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the part are glad.  27 Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.  

May the Holy Spirit show us who we are in the Body of Christ.  May God himself reveal our function so we can do our part; be our part; be His part.  We are the body of Christ!  We are parts of a whole! 

I feel ashamed for what I have.  It’s not my fault!  I live in the United States of America. I work hard and have a family to support. I have needs. It’s not like I have a lot of money.  This is normal.  I see the body of Christ beaten and bruised on the cross.  I see a world without food, clothing, and hope; beaten and bruised on a cross.  I won’t feel guilty.  I should have to suffer too.  Bring me my cross.

Philippians 1:29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 

2 Corinthians 1:5 You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me