1 Corinthians 12; 2 Kings 6:1-7:2; Jonah 1
My daughter works for a company that has strong working relationships with Africa New Life Ministries. Many of the employees have “adopted” children and support them through this organization. More than just sending money, the company arranges trips to the area where this organization works and spends time working in the schools they support and delivering gifts to their adopted children. In fact, the children are seen very much as members of the family. Just recently my daughter’s boss’s wife posted a picture of one of her adopted children standing next to her with the caption: Our son is graduating #1 in his class. Their skin tones are markedly different. Their spirit tones are harmonious. They are…family.
The Corinthian Church included many different kinds of people. Corinth was located at the narrowest point of land between two seas and had a great mixture of people living and traveling through there. People coming from different backgrounds had worshiped different gods and goddesses before they came to Christ. When they came to Christ, they still, apparently, clung to old superstitions and as God’s Spirit began working people likened their spiritual experience with their old religion. (This is my understanding based on how I read the Scriptures. This may or may not be true!) While Paul had very strong condemnatory words for many of the practices of the Corinthian Church, he is almost gentle in correcting this issue. Yes, there are many different gifts; but it is the Spirit of God that gives them. There is not more than one Spirit – it is the same Spirit that tells you that Jesus is Lord. Then Paul tells them that in spite of their different backgrounds; in spite of their different gifts from God; “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Their skin tones might be different. Their backgrounds surely are different. The way God works in each of them is different. Nevertheless, they are all part of the body of Christ and each part of a body is important. The members of the Corinthian Church had an issue with arrogance based on other parts of the letter; this proclamation from Paul put people in their place. Some who thought they were high and mighty were brought down. Others who might have thought they were unimportant were exalted. (Sounds like a teaching of Jesus, doesn’t it!) Usually there are more people who are made to feel small and I can’t help but believe that they received great comfort from those words. Those words are still true today. All Christians are part of the body of Christ.
There is nothing I deserve less than the privilege of being called a child of God; of being part of the body of Christ. I am amazed at God’s love and forgiveness towards me. As a follower of Christ I join with other followers locally and around the world as all of us together make up the body of Christ. It is amazing to me that no one deserves to be there. It is even more amazing to me that God is excited that we are there and continues to enjoy His children and rejoices as more are added. Today, Lord, let me revel in the privilege of being called your child; let me rejoice and celebrate with other Christians; let me find ways to welcome other children into your family.