Some people don’t like their feet. Feet can be funny, odd looking things or they could be calloused and rough. So some people don’t like their feet. On the other hand, some feet are very nice and well kept. Those people may like their feet. I happen to like my feet, but that is beside the point. Other folks may take a dislike to other body parts. Perhaps their nose, or hair (or lack of hair), or height (or lack thereof), teeth, arms, fingers, ears, whatever. They look in a mirror and say, “Ugh.” What I find fascinating is that regardless of what our feet look like, we still need them. Regardless of what my nose looks like, I still need to use it to breath. As long as all the parts are working, I need them and when they aren’t working, I seek medical attention to fix them. Goodness knows how debilitating it can be when you stub your big toe and can’t walk on it. Who knew that a big toe could be so important? Here’s the important thing to remember. The same blood pumping from the heart courses through every body part the same way. No matter what are feet are looking like, whether pedicured or calloused, they get the same blood supply.
At this point, you may be thinking that I lost my mind fixating as I am on these body parts. Here’s my point, Scripture makes a big deal about the Church – us, Christians – being the BODY of Christ. One body, each part doing its thing so that the entire body works. Here’s how Paul expresses it in his first letter to the church in Corinth.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
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. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
I think this passage pretty much says it all, but I want to make a simple point. I have heard many complaints over the years about the disunity in the Church universal. We decry the many different denominations and churches. We point to these as contrary to God’s will for the Church. Why can’t we be One? I don’t think the problem is the many different types of churches, but how we view and treat each of them. I believe that God created the assortment local “expressions” of His body as reflections of His own character and creativity. There are many facets to God and, if done correctly, each local church or denomination can show one of those facets.
The problem is when we disdain, revile, ridicule, scorn or disparage those “others” as inferior to us. As long as the blood of Christ courses through a church, as long as they have been made to drink of one Spirit – the same Spirit – they are part of the Body of Christ and I need them. I may not necessarily like how they organize themselves or conduct their services or dress, but they are still part of God’s Kingdom and have a place in it. Each church is important; each one has something valuable to add to God’s plan of salvation on this earth. Each one will be worshipping together at the end of the age. Each one will be caught up to heaven when Christ returns. We have no room to dismiss another church just because they are not like us. And even if we completely disagree with them, as long as they have a biblical basis for what they are doing, let’s pray for them and ask for God’s grace rather than God’s judgment. My guess is that we need as much, or more, of His mercy than “they” do.
So take a few moments today, take off your shoes and socks and say to your feet, “God bless you.” Then do the same for another part of the Body of Christ.