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  • Shawn Thornton

One Body, Many Parts

Monday - March 7th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:7-16


For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

1 Corinthians 12:13-14

The game of "Operation" provided me with fun and frustration as a kid. My best friend throughout childhood was Lance Cleland. He was my age, and his family lived next door to my family. Lance had the game of "Operation." We often brought out games like "Connect Four," "Mousetrap," and "Operation" on winter days when school was closed because of snow or on summer days when we were bored with all other options.

Lance was much more competitive than I was when we were kids. He beat me at any sport we tried to play. Board games allowed me to hold my own in our competitiveness with each other. The one glaring exception was "Operation." You might remember the game. You take tweezers and try to remove various bones/body parts from a simple, almost clown-like person pictured on an operating table on the game board. The tweezers were wired to the rest of the game. If you accidentally touched the sides of the hole into which you had to go in your attempt to retrieve the little body part, a loud annoying buzzer sounded, and the red bulb nose of the patient lit up.

I guess the game took the steadiness of an athletic hand. Lance always won. Each of my attempts to carry out an operation with the tweezers would be met with that nasty buzzer and accompanying red light. My earliest understanding of humans having body parts that we could not see - parts inside us - began with that crazy game.

Soon after I started playing the game of "Operation," my cousin and I found an anatomy learning tool for kids in our grandmother's game closet. The Skilcraft company's "Invisible Man" was made of plastic, and you could see through what would be the skin of a man's body. You saw various organs and could take them out and put them back where they belonged anatomically again. This educational tool was more a puzzle than a game.

The "Invisible Man" taught me many more vital organs underneath people's outer skin than the game of "Operation" indicated. It also hinted at how all of these organs or body parts needed each other. They made up the whole of the body.

Paul told the believers of the first-century church in Corinth that every follower of Jesus is a vital part of the Body of Christ. Jesus Himself is the head of the body. Christians each have a role and are essential to the whole body. Each of us needs the others. Paul said it this way, "Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many" (1 Corinthians 12:14).

Paul parallels his teaching in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 as he writes to the Ephesian church. In Ephesians 4:7-16, the Apostle emphasizes how God gives others to us to help us grow. We can all serve each other. We can all grow toward maturity and encourage others toward that same maturity in Christ. We build each other up as we properly use our gifts to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord grow in Him.

God has shaped each of us in different ways than everyone else. We all have different experiences, natural abilities, personalities, and spiritual gifts. We are one in Christ but distinct in how God uses us for His glory.

We are to embrace our own uniqueness in how God has shaped our lives while embracing that we are all one in Jesus. We are one body with many parts. Whatever part God has for you is essential to our effectiveness together. Whatever part God has for me is essential to our effectiveness too!

The way God uses our uniqueness as individuals within our oneness as Christ's body demonstrates His grace to the world!


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