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.1 Corinthians 12:21-26
Over the last few weeks, we’ve encountered more than a few people who are facing serious disease scenarios in their lives. One of our friends is working through a cancer protocol and another friend mentioned the unexpected diagnosis of another younger man (a non-smoker) facing stage four lung cancer in both lungs. And then yesterday we heard of a nineteen-year-old who died in the shower of a heart attack.
Do these details make you a little uncomfortable? We give little thought to our lungs or heart or any other organ unless there is a problem, right?
In the last verse above, Paul reminds us of both the negative and the positive aspects of being part of the body of Christ. It is true that when one part of our physical body suffers, the whole body suffers, then how much more true is it when the body of Christ is attacked by disease and dysfunction? In the same way, we should be able to share in the joy of others.
Paul is concerned about the health of the church in Corinth, but it seems that these words are just as relevant today.
Ask yourself a few questions: How do I respond to others who have different gifts or abilities? Am I envious? Do I look down on them? And then these: When have I shared in the suffering of a brother or sister in Christ? Or, how easy is it for me to rejoice in their triumph?