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The Church Is a Body, Not a Body Part

How do you respond when the sermon doesn’t apply to you?

Maybe your pastor is preaching about marriage, and you’re single.

Or you came across an article about suffering, but you’re in a season of rejoicing.

Or maybe the recent episode of Revive Our Hearts is about parenting, but you’ve been barren for years.

  • Do you roll your eyes?
  • Do you groan and complain in your heart about your own circumstances?
  • Do you mentally check out and start planning your to-do list, assuming there is nothing you can gain from this particular sermon?

Looking through a “ME” lens.

These internal responses are ramifications of our all-about-me culture; we tend to be consumeristic and individualistic—even at church.

As consumers, we are always asking: “What can I get out of this?”
As individuals, we ask: “What does this have to do with me?”

Instead of noticing only those who can relate to you, open your eyes and look around. Become aware of those who are different than you, and strengthen one another.

It’s as if we are viewing life through a “ME” lens. A lens that completely blinds us to people in other generations or life stages, or those who are simply different than us. A lens that fuels self-love, jealousy and discontentment. A lens that dismantles the primary metaphor describing the church: a body made of many parts.

“Now you are Christ’s body,” Paul tells us. Each one of us is a smaller, yet indispensable, part of a whole. What a foreign concept to most American Christians since there is no context for such a corporate view of life. Even the most basic forms of a collective whole, namely marriage and family, are largely disintegrating in America. So it’s no surprise that Paul’s description of how the body of Christ functions is rarely modeled:

“There may be no division in the body but the members should have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:24-26).

Additionally, Jesus emphasizes the oneness of His followers in His prayer before being crucified: “That they may be one, just as we are one; I in them and you in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me” (John 17: 22-23, emphasis added). Unity in the church is crucial! It authenticates Jesus as the Son of God to the world!

With so much riding on our ability to work as one body, let’s rid ourselves of the “ME” lens and recalibrate our minds with the Word (Rom 12:2).

Looking through an “US” lens.

  • Instead of looking through a “ME” lens, Paul calls us to look through an “US” lens.
  • Rather than consumers, we are to be servants.
  • Rather than individuals, we are to be one body.
  • Instead of only looking out for ourselves, we are to look out for one another.

You are a small and indispensable part of a whole, just like the woman in the pew behind you. She needs you, and you need her. Her successes are your successes; her suffering is your suffering.