"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (NIV)
Throughout the New Testament, the community of Christian believers is referred to repeatedly as the "Body of Christ". For instance, in 1 Corinthians 12:27, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (NIV). But what does this mean? In what ways are we a body? As explained by S. Michael Houdmann, "After His bodily ascension, Christ continues His work in the world through those He has redeemed--the Church now demonstrates the love of God clearly, tangibly, and boldly. In this way, the Church functions as 'the Body of Christ.'"
Within the human body, each and every part is important. If one part of the body is cut off or ceases to function, the whole body suffers as a result. Often, the other parts must work much harder to compensate for the loss.
For example, consider walking across the room using both legs. Such a feat would not be a challenge for someone with two healthy legs. Crossing the room with one leg, however, would be much more difficult. If both legs were unusable, crossing the room would be a formidable challenge indeed!
Or consider throwing a ball as far as you can. While the most obvious action involves the arm, in truth the entire body is involved. Even seemingly insignificant parts of the body can come into play.
The body of Christ is like this. If all members of the body of Christ are working together, the potential is limitless. If members of the body neglect their roles, however, the entire body of Christ suffers and is rendered less effective. For the community of faith to truly be the Body Christ intended--the Church--each member must be working in unison.
Within the Body of Christ, all of us have different gifts and talents. Some of us can sing and some of us can dance really well. Many of us play different sports or instruments. We might be good at math, science, or spelling. Some have gifts of administration or leadership while others are gifted at teaching or showing compassion. Each member is uniquely equipped and important to the entire body.
Furthermore, think about the composition of a sports team. Whether you are playing basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer--whatever the sport--each member of the team is assigned a different role. Without each person doing his or her part, the team cannot perform to its potential.
1 Corinthians 12:18 states, "But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be." Each person in the Body of Christ is gifted according to God's design and is assigned a different role to play.
When constructing a model with your hands, how important are your eyes? When watching a video, how do your ears contribute to the experience? Having various parts working together--each performing its unique role--the entire body functions better.
As part of the Body of Christ, you are important. Jesus has a special place for each of His followers in His Body. He has given you gifts and talents to use, and He has placed you exactly where He wants you to be in the Body. Just as the hand needs the wrist and the wrist needs the arm, you are needed as an important part of the body of Christ.