Paul tells us that we are all part of the same body. 1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” Each part of the body has its own function under the headship of Christ. A body is “healthy” when each part fulfills its particular role. But the body of believers in Corinth was not healthy. A visitor to a mental hospital was astonished to note that there were only three guards watching over a hundred dangerous inmates. He asked his guide, “Don’t you fear that these people will overpower the guards and escape?” “No,” was the reply. “Lunatics never unite.” I’m sorry to say that I’ve met a lot of “lunatics” in the church. Being unable to unite in an effort with others, they focus on their own interests and lose the impact of what it’s like to work together for the accomplishment of a common goal. Not only do they miss the thrill of seeing God work through the concerted effort of the body, but they also lose the strength, support, and joys that sharing their lives with others will bring.

There is strength and safety in the plurality of effort. For safety reasons, mountain climbers rope themselves together when climbing a mountain. That way, if one climber should slip and fall, he would not fall to his death. He would be held by the others until he could regain his footing. The church ought to be like that. When one member slips and falls, the others should hold him up until he regains his footing. We are all roped together by the Holy Spirit.

Paul often refers to the church as a body. Each of us fills a different role; some are hands, some are feet, some are noses, some are eyes, and some are mouths (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-18).  In his Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Michael Green gets even more specific. He says, “In any flesh-and-bones body, there are a variety of cells. There are nerve cells, blood cells, muscle cells, and many others, each having a distinct function. The body operates smoothly, not because the cells get together and vote on what to do, but because each one does what it was designed to do. It is the function of the head to bring all these different functions together so that the body operates effectively, as each cell gives itself to the task of functioning according to its design. Certainly, the body would not operate properly if its cells chose to go their own way. Do you know what we call a rebellion of the cells of your stomach? We call it indigestion! A revolt of your brain cells is called insanity. Any time the cells in our body don’t operate properly, it means that the body is sick, that something is wrong with it. Many of the problems in the church today are a result of our forgetting that the church is a body with a head, Jesus Christ.” Tidwell concludes, “Christ, the Head of this body, gives it unity, direction, balance, and control.”[1]

[1] Tidwell, Charles. 1985. Church Administration: Effective Leadership for Ministry. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.