When I worked at the State Department, although most of us commuted in sneakers and then changed into heels upon arrival, others remained in commuter shoes all day. Sadly, I came to realize that their inattention to professional attire seemed directly related to their feeling of uselessness. The more senior staff would never have worn tennis shoes into their meetings with the Secretary or other visiting dignitaries.
Many of us attend large churches where we’re tempted to keep our “commuter shoes” on all day because we feel useless. After all, only the senior staff – i.e., the pastor, elders, teachers – needs to wear “heels” because they speak publicly and hold meetings. The rest of us are just unpaid volunteers sitting in pews, right?
Analogizing the church to the human body, Paul gives the Corinthians three rationales why this reasoning is wrong.
1. It is not in accordance with reality.
Paul writes: If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. vv. 15-16.
Even though you may think and feel that you’re useless, you’re not. You cannot compare yourself to someone else and conclude that they’re more important to the work of the church than you are. Do you think that you’re less important in your small group because you’re only a member and not a leader? You’re wrong. You’re not useless. You bring a unique manifestation of the Spirit by fellowship, prayer and community.
2. It does not acknowledge the necessity of diversity.
Paul writes: Now the body is not made up of one part but of many … If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. vv. 14, 19-20.
The body must be diverse. If every part wanted to be like one part, the body would cease to exist.
3. It does not trust God.
Paul writes: But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. v. 18.
We must trust that God is sovereign in His design of the body’s parts – for our best interest and for the manifestation of the Spirit.