Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has won five national championships in three different decades. He describes his approach to building a cohesive team with the analogy of a fist: on their own, the five individual players on the court can’t accomplish much. But when they come together and think of themselves as part of one whole, they can be powerful and effective.
We’ve already seen the apostle Paul use the analogy of the body in his letter to the Romans, and he includes it in his letter to the church in Corinth as well. Clearly this is a message that many Christians need to hear!
Notice several consequences that should result from our recognition of being a part of the larger body of Christ. First, our individual gifts matter and are needed by others. A body needs eyes to see and ears to hear; each part is valuable (vv. 15–20). Second, we must understand that none of us can function properly apart from the rest of the body. What good is an ear lying on a table? How helpful is a severed foot? We must be joined to the body for our spiritual health as well as theirs (vv. 21–24).
Third, because we are part of the body of Christ, we should give and receive love and concern (vv. 25–26). We share in one another’s joys and sorrows. We are part of each other’s triumphs and sufferings.
Finally, this body functions only because the Spirit of God has created it (v. 13). We can take no credit for our particular gifts; all the glory belongs to God. Our responsibility is to use our gifts without pride or jealousy in order to serve the Lord and bless others. Then the body will be powerful and effective.
Apply the Word
We usually express our gifts and serve others through smaller gatherings—in local churches. Are you part of a local church where you can share in the joys and sorrows of others? Are you using your gifts to strengthen that local fellowship? If not, look in your area for a church that preaches God’s Word and puts love into practice.