Partners of Equal Value

So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other equally. 
–1 Corinthians 12:24b-25 (NLT)

I read a story about a Sea Captain and his Chief Engineer. They argued as to which of them was more important to the ship. Failing to agree, they decided to swap roles. The Chief Engineer ascended to the bridge and the Captain descended to the engine room. After a couple of hours, the Captain emerged suddenly on the deck, covered with soot and oil. “Chief,” he yelled, wildly waving a monkey wrench. “You’ll have to come down here; I can’t make ‘er go!” “Of course you can’t,” replied the Chief. “We’ve run aground!”

Unfortunately, in too many local churches today there is bickering about who is most important in the church body. (This should be no surprise, since this ugly heritage goes all the way back to Jesus’ disciples — see Luke 9:46-48.) Far too much time and energy is wasted in churches when people grasp for power, status and recognition — time and energy that would be better spent demonstrating teamwork and unity to a world that is starving for a model of genuine community. In the church, which is the body of Christ, there is no room for ego or comparison. The Scriptures indicate that every believer has been given a gift (or gifts) by the Holy Spirit to be used in ministry so that everyone might be encouraged and built up. Everyone has a role to play. Though we each have differing gifts and abilities, together, we are all partners of equal value.

Have a realistic view of who you are in Christ — a view that isn’t based on comparisons to others. Commit to serving alongside your fellow Christ-followers without concern for who is more important! When you follow Jesus’ example of considering others as more important than yourself, you’ll fulfill your role in the body of Christ, just as God intended!

GOING DEEPER:
1. Why do you think God wants us to care for each other equally? How would the church be different if we lived according to God’s design in this area?

2. How are you using your gifts and abilities to help build up other Christ-followers?

FURTHER READING:
1 Corinthians 12:4-27; Ephesians 4:7-13; Romans 15:5; Philippians 2:1-8

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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