The Broken Body
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should 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. 1 Corinthians 12:14-15
As a physician, I have a job because our bodies are imperfect, being prone to decay, illness, and injury. Whether it’s diabetes, a broken arm, or depression, we’ve all experienced sickness and we all know both physical and emotional pain. Our minds and bodies are indeed amazing, but the individual parts eventually break down, affecting the whole. When a kidney or a pancreas stops working, the rest of the body cannot simply continue unaffected. The rest of the body relies on those parts.
In today’s passage, Paul used this metaphor of our physical bodies to describe the church, which is the body of Christ. Jesus once walked the Earth, but in his physical absence, those who follow him are now his manifest presence here on Earth. It’s our job to be Christ to those around us, speaking, doing, and living according to his will.
I’ve always thought this was a bad plan, exactly for the reasons Paul outlined in today’s passage. In it, he recognized the dysfunction that occurs when one part of the body – a foot, hand, or eye – simply refuses to do its part. He admitted that in such a case, the body is injured, unable to function as intended. When one part of the body doesn’t perform as it should, the whole body suffers. The world likewise suffers when the body of Christ doesn’t do its job.
When someone turns to God for help with some trial. God often uses us, his body, to answer. What if, however, the one who’s supposed to go, refuses? Now, the body is broken and unable to function as intended. I’m sure God can send someone else, but still, he relies on an imperfect people to carry out his plan.
This is a sobering thought. As part of the body of Christ, I have a job to do. Am I doing it? When I meet someone who is struggling, do I reach out, showing them the love of Christ? Or, do I simply go my own way, contributing to the brokenness of the body? In my addiction, I was terribly sick, contributing to the sickness of the whole body. In recovery now, I must do the opposite. It’s my job to daily ask God what he wants me to do. Then, I must do it.