#588 (27/4/22) - I DON’T BELONG
This week we return to our series in 1 Corinthians in our devotionals. This week we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.
Liverpool Football Club, I understand, are a team that’s doing really well at the moment. When we think about success in football, It’s common that we focus on the players and the coach. They are in front of us. They save the goals. They score the goals. However, currently, they have 1,953 staff! For that 11 man or woman team to play well, they need a huge support team. If everyone wants to be a forward, who will drive the coach? Who is going to cut the grass? Who is going to design the kit? It would be nonsense for the groundsman to say ‘because I’m not a physio, I’m not useful in the club! Likewise, in the church, we must not disqualify ourselves because we are not somebody else with different gifts.
‘Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being 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 stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.’ (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)
There are gifts that receive more attention. There are gifted people who receive more adulation. However, in the Kingdom of God and in His sight, each of us is important to the healthy functioning of the church - His body. We read something similar in Ephesians,
‘But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
According to this text, to Whom have gifts been given?
Who has decided which ‘grace’ (another word for gifts) each of us receives?
Who has decided the ‘portion’ (or ‘measure’ ESV ) of gift you’ve received?
Clinton Arnold writes of the way that Jesus apportions gifts in the church:
‘Christ does not apportion gifts in a random way, but according to his plan. He is the one who chooses who will receive what gift and determines the amount of the gift that each person will receive. This is the most natural explanation of “according to the measure” (κατὰ τὸ μέτρον). The emphasis here is on Christ’s sovereign distribution and apportionment. There is no room left for good works and merit to earn a better gift or a greater portion of a gift.’
Are you tempted to say “I don’t belong”? I’m of no use! I’ve got nothing to contribute! Do we allow what we’re not to rob us of what God has made us to be? You have been given a portion of grace with which to serve your church. Let’s not hide our talent away. Let’s invest what we’ve been entrusted with.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians.
PLAY YOUR PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST (12:12-31)
i) CHRIST HAS A BODY
Please read 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
Paul uses the illustration of a human to show how Jesus works through each of us in this world. Through the local church - His body- He continues His ministry. Bittlenger comments:
‘In order to accomplish his work on earth, Jesus had a body made of flesh and blood. In order to accomplish his work today, Jesus has a body that consists of living human beings.’