2020.05.21 Daily Devotional

The Upper Room[1] devotional reflection for Thursday, May 21st comes to us from Linda Neff of Ontario, Canada.

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 NRSV[2]    14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

After having surgery on one of my big toes, I required a walker for support and weeks of recovery. My entire daily life seemed to revolve around that toe and its healing.  I had never said to a friend, “Let me show you my wonderful toe! It helps me so much every day!” But after this experience I felt a new appreciation for its importance.

The way I undervalued my toe made me think about the parts of the body of Christ — the church. Some people have roles to play that often go unnoticed, yet they serve important functions in God’s work.  I think of the editors who make a writer’s work clearer, the people who quietly pray for others, and the custodians who keep church facilities clean and ready for study and worship each week. The list goes on. How often do we take the time to acknowledge and encourage others?

Paul reminds us that when any member suffers, we all suffer; and when any member is honored, we rejoice together.  When members of our Christian family are hurting in some way, we can support and encourage one another, renewing our strength for the tasks God has assigned us.  When we care for and value one another, it is cause for rejoicing.

 Prayer: Dear God, help us to see the value of other Christians and to commend them for their work.  Amen.

 – Linda Neff

Friends,

You are important to God and to your local community of faith.  Each of us has been given a gift, to encourage, support and enhance our community of faith.  As Linda’s reflection asserts, when recognize and celebrating those persons who contribute to the grace that exists in our local Holy Spaces, brings an enrichment that lifts us all.  In God’s family there aren’t big “I’s” and little “You’s,” for in God’s family all are valued and significant.  Each of us, no matter what our function, giftedness or intellect are invaluable within the body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth, helps crystalize the folly of a church that provide preferential treatment to those deemed valuable:

15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?… 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,

 Indeed, there are churches where this ideal is not manifested and people become deeply wounded by the actions of those who profess they follow Christ.  We all may have heard or even experienced a “devote” church attender behaving in a manner that led us to question the sincerity of their relationship with Christ.  Yet, each of us also has the opportunity to take that negative experience and transform it into a positive mindset for how we’ll interact with those whom God allows us to share our faith.

-Pastor Anthony

[1] https://www.upperroom.org/

[2] https://www.biblestudytools.com/nrs/1-corinthians/12.html