“For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:24–26, KJV)
I am not certain if I had mentioned this before, but I like fishing. However, I have often found myself in a bad trap of jealousy. One time while fishing from the surf, the person on my left was catching fish on every cast. However, I did not catch a thing. Rather than rejoicing in the success of that person, I became a bit disgruntled. I know it sounds childish, but I have to be honest.
There is something in our flesh that moves us to rejoice in our own successes, but often causes us to fail to rejoice in the successes of others. This also happens in the church. Take for instance that a gifted speaker come into the pastor’s church. He preaches a message that the pastor has preached a hundred times. Then at the conclusion of the message, several people respond to his message. The pastor of that church might become a bit bewildered if not jealous.
I remember some of my parishioners going to a conference and coming back saying the great thing they learned at the conference. Yet, it was the same thing that I had been saying from our church’s pulpit. Well, it happens that way at times.
Paul wrote to a church where people esteemed certain spiritual gifts and talents higher than others. It got to a point where people were seeking spiritual gifts that they felt were more important or would gain more attention. Yet, this is not the way God designed the church. Paul presented a huge contrast in thought to the believers in Corinth. He indicated that God composed the church giving greater honor to the parts that lacked. His main point is that God designed the church body to function in harmony with an understanding that all parts were equally important. He told them the reason for this, “That there should be no schism in the body.”
Rather than schisms in the church, God wants the members to “have the same care one for another.” He went on to emphasize this point, “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
At any given time in the church, there are people suffering. Believers who are in a church fellowship should never suffer alone. It sadly happens, but it should not. Perhaps it is because many never truly join in fellowship so that they may look at a suffering member and walk away nonchalantly. Let us never display this lack of compassion.
Conversely, there are others in the church who have achieved great victories or received great blessings. They are rejoicing and their joy should be contagious. Those in the church should rejoice with them and for them. The reason for this is that the church is likened to the human body. I know this from personal experience. When you hit your big toe with a sledge hammer the who body does not feel good. Conversely, when it stops throbbing the who body feels better.
In the church, rejoice with those who are in times of blessing and suffer with those who are suffering. In this way the church body is edified.