I recently read a blog post in which Perry Noble, pastor of Newspring Church in Anderson, SC, wrote an article about Chick-Fil-A. He said that he was completely through with them - he was never returning there again. Do you know why? He loved everything about Chick-Fil-A, with the exception of their recent switch from grapes to blueberries in their fruit cup. He HATES blueberries, he says. Who would switch from grapes, the best fruit in the world, in his opinion, to blueberries? What an awful idea, he says. Of course, he was joking. His point was very clear though: while we laugh at this example in the context of a restaurant, we see it all too often in the Body of Christ. Two people who both love the Lord end up becoming divided over issues that are simply minor.
I was once in a church where one member simply could not bring himself to continue to listen to the pastor because of their difference in opinion about the timing of the events surrounding Jesus' return. Now, the truth is that no one knows for sure the timing of these events! And yet, this good brother, who truly loved the Lord, allowed himself to bring a measure of division into the church over what is a minor issue, and one which will never be settled among men. These men were good men who served well together. Their giftings were different, and complimented one another, but it was their differences - even over small matters - that lead to this division.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes to the church in Corinth about what it means to be a part of the body of Christ. This church was riddled with division, immorality, and fighting. Paul says to them, "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Imagine, using this same analogy of the human body, if we were all gifted and wired exactly the same. How ridiculous would it look to see one giant big toe walking down the street? You certainly wouldn't call that a "body" because it was only one part, even if the size were comparable. A big toe serves an important function within the body, and, apart from the body, serves no function at all. So it is with us: God has gifted us certain ways, and He has called us to use those giftings within the context of the body of Christ at large. Now, does this mean that we will be working with people that are gifted differently than we are? Sure! This is exactly how a body is designed to function! The Body requires all the parts to work together to create the necessary function. If one part is damaged, then the entire body suffers as a result. Other parts have to overcompensate when that happens, and that wears them out more quickly than if all the parts were working together as they were designed.
As a member of the body of Christ, we are called to work together. The admonition that Paul gives to the church in Corinth is rather severe. Do not give the devil a stronghold by focusing on how someone is different than you, and using that as a means of division. Serve the Lord as He designed you to by serving within the Body. Every part is necessary, and every person is important and valuable.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.