The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ…If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. – 1 Corinthians 12:12, 15-18 (NLT)
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals. The virus causes a high fever for approximately two to six days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness. It is highly contagious and can be spread by infected animals comparatively easily through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, and feed. In the midst of such pain the animals will not eat or drink, and they lose weight rapidly. However, preventive measures have made this infection virtually nonexistent in the US today.
A spiritual kind of foot-and-mouth disease continues in epidemic proportions in the church. In 1 Corinthians 12 believers are likened to parts of a human body. This kind of foot-and-mouth disease breaks out when those who belong to the body of Christ, the church, begin comparing themselves among themselves. A foot may become dissatisfied with its inability to express itself like the mouth. It may be jealous because the mouth is always out in front, while the foot is below eye level and normally is covered by socks and shoes. AND the mouth may feel inadequate because it can’t move about and bear the weight of the body. It has to go wherever the foot wants to go and not where the mouth wants to go. Even some in the church have foot-in-mouth disease, but that may be a topic for another time.
A visitor was being shown a leper colony in India. A noon gong sounded for the midday meal. People came from all parts of the compound to the dining hall. All at once peals of laughter filled the air. Two young men, one riding on the other man’s back, were pretending to be a horse and rider and were having loads of fun. As the visitor watched, he saw that the man who carried his friend was blind, and the man on his back was lame. The one who could not see used his feet; the one who could not walk used his eyes. Together they helped each other, and they found great joy in doing it.
Imagine a church like that – each member using his or her strength to make up for another’s weakness. That’s what should be happening in every congregation of believers. Eyes see. Ears hear. Hands work. Feet move the body forward. All are essential. And when each fulfills its function, the whole body benefits.
We get in big trouble, we cause disease, when we begin to set our eyes on other members of the body instead of keeping them on the Lord, the head of the body. God has sovereignly design and placed each Christian in the body for specific purposes. Each of us is vital to the well-being of the whole. And when we fulfill our role (not someone else’s role), there will be harmony, and our Savior will receive glory. God’s Spirit has gifted each of us for the good of the church. We need each other. In the body of Christ there are no nobodies. Let’s put an end to foot-and-mouth disease in the church. As a member of His body, I’ve been placed in First Baptist to glorify God and to edify you. People may call me “pastor”, but I’m just a member, along with you, of Christ’s body. Let’s give our best to being the His body together.
Steve the Spleen