Each Sunday morning during our service at church the Scriptures for that day’s sermon are read aloud before our pastor begins teaching. This Sunday there was a bit of a technical error and the wrong Scriptures were read. Our pastor was teaching from 2 Corinthians, but the text that was read was from 1 Corinthians. I AM SO GLAD THAT HAPPENED! I was familiar with the passages, but for the first time it came together for me. It starts in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and continues into the well know chapter of 13 about love. The break in chapters can make one miss something huge that God wants us to know.
I Corinthians 12:12-31
12 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. 13 Forby one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.
I Corinthians 13:1-7
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my bodyto be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
First off, the importance of EVERY member of the body was such a good reminder to me. It humbled me to recognize that ALL are there for a specific purpose, ordained by God and are of equal importance. It also reminded me that my participation and presence is important– it isn’t good, healthy, right (or whatever word seems appropriate here) for me to not be actively involved and present at my church and in the body of believers. If a seemingly insignificant part of the body is taken away, the whole body becomes less effective.
Secondly, as the passage continues in chapter 13 if I do ANYTHING without LOVE it results in loud clanging noises, nothing, zero profit, impatience, jealousy, meanness, arrogant, acting unbecoming, self seeking, pride, unforgiveness, being easily provoked and ultimately failure. Each part of the body of believers has different gifts, but ALL have LOVE available to them through Christ. We are without excuse.
I am so grateful that I was able to hear with understanding this passage this week. Thanks be to God!