Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. 1 Corinthians 12:22
A friend of mine works on a hospital ship called Africa Mercy, which takes free healthcare to developing countries. The staff daily serve hundreds of patients whose ailments would otherwise go untreated.
TV crews who periodically board the ship, point their cameras on its amazing medical staff, who fix cleft palates and reset club feet. Sometimes they go below deck to interview other crew members, but the work Mick does typically goes unnoticed.
Mick, an engineer, admits being surprised about where he’d been assigned to work—in the ship’s sewage plant. With up to forty thousand liters of waste produced each day, managing this toxic material is serious business. Without Mick tending its pipes and pumps, Africa Mercy’s life-giving operations would stop.
It’s easy to applaud those on the “top deck” of Christian ministry while overlooking those in the galleys below. When the Corinthians elevated those with extraordinary gifts above others, Paul reminded them that every believer has a role in Christ’s work (1 Corinthians 12:7–20), and every gift is important, whether it’s miraculous healing or helping others (vv. 27–31). In fact, the less prominent the role, the greater honor it deserves (vv. 22–24).
Are you a “lower deck” person? Then lift your head high. Your work is honored by God and indispensable to us all.
What happens when you compare your gifts with others? Which “lower deck” person can you affirm the efforts of today?
I’m important to You, God. Thank You for noticing me whether others do or not.
Paul used many metaphors to describe the church; for example, “flock” (Acts 20:28), “field” and “building” (1 Corinthians 3:9), and “dwelling” (Ephesians 2:22). But one metaphor Paul used often is “body” (Romans 12:4–5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 1:22–23; 4:4, 12; 5:23, 30; Colossians 1:18, 24).
Some Corinthian believers elevated certain ecstatic gifts (for example, speaking in unknown tongues) above others saying that unless one had these, they weren’t part of the church. Paul refuted this error in 1 Corinthians 12–14. Here he used the body metaphor to promote oneness, unity, and harmony in the church. The church, like the human body, has many parts, but all are needed for the body to function properly.