Have you ever broken a leg or a foot? Aside from the obvious challenges brought by the fracture, the challenge seems to snowball into other areas of the body. The other leg or foot becomes the stabilizer, carrying more of the weight that up until that point was more evenly distributed. In turn, hips, knees and other joints on the stronger appendage may suffer as well until the broken bone is healed.
You can tell when a part of your body is suffering. It doesn’t just have to be the heart or the mind or a major bone or organ. Even the smallest bone can bring about pain and misery. Every part of the body makes up one functioning person. Without it working properly, there is a vacuum somewhere. You feel it.
I love the correlation found between our physical bodies and our roles in the body of Christ that we find in 1 Corinthians 12:
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ(v. 12). If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? (vv. 18, 19).
Most of us like to think we are pretty valued members of the body. Sometimes we may even joke that we wish others had our same skillset, determination, sense of humor, etc. “Why can’t everyone be like me?” Have you ever been in a group of people just like yourself? Annoying really isn’t a strong enough word for it. Every little personality tick that you are able to somehow gloss over in your own life seems pretty glaring in others. Your glitches are cute on you, others not as much.
As someone who was comfortable on a stage or in the center of conversation, I was excited to join my high school drama team. Until I arrived. I sat in that first meeting and noticed it was a roomful of people who liked to have the spotlight. Every word of the meeting announcements were met with punchlines, jokes, side comments, heckling, you name it. I never went back. It was an entire room of DeWayne Hambys. Someone had to be the audience. Someone had to be the one laughing at those jokes.
At the same time, there are those who aren’t comfortable in the spotlight and perhaps church culture has made them feel less than significant. That’s not true, as Paul writes:
But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another (vv. 24, 25).
I think the body of Christ is beautiful and not only because our Lord Jesus is the head. Through endless intertwining pathways of millions of personal journeys, so many radically different people have found one common cord, a scarlet one to be exact, which has bound all of us together. We cross social, economic, geographic and racial lines to become a diverse, beautiful body of believers driven by love for Christ and each other.