|Stained glass - Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris|
TO CHEW ON: "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it." 1 Corinthians 12:26
If you've ever had a toothache or a sprained finger or a broken toe, you will have experienced the truth of all body members suffering with that injured part. And who could conceive of an eye, for example, going off in a sulk because the legs got the glory for winning a race?
The body analogy is so apt a comparison of the church with its many moving parts, not only within individual churches but of the many churches on earth. The ideal is for all members within churches and all those many churches to work as one so that Christ is revealed to a lost world.
A sidebar article in my Bible titled "Interdependence" does a good job of explaining such cooperation:
"Independence says I can do it myself; interdependence says, I cannot do it alone; we need each other. The goal of interdependence in the church (and among churches) is to reflect the unity of the body of Christ in the midst of diversity. God has gifted different parts of the body, including different congregations, with specific missions to build up the whole. As the body functions in the way God intends, He uses it to draw alienated people of varied circumstances to the good news of Jesus Christ" - Bill McCartney & Raleigh B. Washington, "Interdependence," New Spirit-Filled Bible, p. 1597 (emphasis added).
If we could only grasp the idea that God has different missions not only for each of us but for different congregations, the church would be a lot more effective and, I believe, healthier.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the church and for Paul's word pictures describing it. Help me to understand and live out the fact that I'm part of a wonderfully complex body that is privileged to carry out Your plans on earth. Amen.
MORE: More on interdependence
"Interdependence is difficult to develop in a culture that insists on its own way and rights .... In interdependent living we learn to appreciate the uniqueness of the other, and to need what the other is bringing to the relationship" - Ibid (emphasis added).*************
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.