21That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. 22In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. 23We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, 24but we don't have to be modest about other parts.
God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. 25He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. 26If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.
27Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. 28 First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. 29Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. 30Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. 31I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way.
Just an ordinary church. “Corinth’ sounds a long way off, and the first century A.D. sounds a long time ago. But the church at Corinth was just like your church, really, and if you look carefully you will find yourself in it! Perhaps Paul has a word especially for you today.
- A word for the individualist. This is the person we call the “Ione wolf”, the one who likes to “go it alone”. Is that you? If so, 27 is your verse. Your church is Christ’s “body”, and you are a “member’. You are needed. Don’t pull out.
- A word for the inactive. For this person, the church is just a place to go, a spot in which to meet one’s friends – “but don’t ask me to do anything!” Is that you? Read verse 28. There is work to be done, work for all. Let verse 31 be your ambition.
- A word for the intolerant. There is always someone who insists that everyone ought to be just the way he is himself. He gets one thing out of proportion and uses it as a test of everyone else. Is that you? Then read verses 29-30.
Dear Lord, give me a vision of my own church as your body. Supply it with people of many different gifts and let me be one of them. Amen.