For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one Body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
~ Romans 12:3-5 ~
Volleyball happens to be a hobby of mine. For those of you who know me, this probably comes as no surprise. I love the challenge of working together as a team to cover the right zones on defense, and then, as one unit, transitioning to an offensive attack that will hopefully result in a point. I enjoy the personal challenge of seeking to discipline my Body so that it can exhibit the delicate touch required to execute a perfect set to a teammate; the quickness and coordination to dive for a stray ball; the power that comes from coiling the body and launching upward, and then releasing the stored power to unwind for a spike in one fluid motion (or, at least attempting all these things). 😉 It truly is amazing to think of the coordination with which God has gifted the human body so it can perform incredible feats of athleticism!
One thing that’s been fascinating to me lately as I’ve been working on improving my game is the importance of each member of the body in the execution of a spike. Typically, we’d associate a spike with a good jump and a good swing – so, maybe the legs and the dominant arm are primarily involved and ought to get all the glory, right? In reality, there are countless other parts of the body that are working behind the scenes to set-up the legs for a good jump and the arm for a good swing. Here are just a few other factors: the number of steps in the gather, the angle of the feet when planting before the jump, the pendulum effect created by swinging both arms upward simultaneously, the coiling and uncoiling of the torso in mid-flight, the hand-eye coordination to time the jump and make solid contact with the ball, the snap of the wrist to create top-spin, the follow-through, and a solid landing (without falling into the net, of course!).
Now, imagine for a moment that my left arm decided one day, “I’m tired of playing second–fiddle. The right hand gets all the glory! I’m just going to take it easy today. It won’t really matter if I don’t do my job. The rest of the body will be fine without me.” Not true!! If my left arm were hanging limply at my side and ignoring the commands given by the brain, I’m guessing I would immediately lose at least half of my vertical leap and power to spike – and I’d probably look incredibly uncoordinated in the process! The secondary arm is a critical component of an effective volleyball spike. In a much grander way, each one of us have uniquely important roles to fulfill as members of Christ’s Body.
In Romans 12:4-5, Paul gives the picture of us each being individual members of one Body – the Body of Christ. What an amazing thought! In Christ, we are one with each other and one with God, with Him as our Head. (I Cor. 6:17, I Cor. 12, Eph. 4:15) We’ve all heard this illustration of the Body of Christ countless times, right? But today, let’s pause to seek a proper posture for embracing this incredible truth.
As we examine this passage, let’s first back up to verse three to gain additional context. Paul prefaces the illustration of the Body by emphasizing the importance of humility amongst individual members in the Body of Christ. He exhorts us not to “think of [ourselves] more highly than we ought to think” but to “think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” First and foremost, we must realize that it is by God’s grace alone that we have been accepted into the Body of Christ. This blessed salvation “is not of works, lest any [one of us] should boast.” Oh, what a privilege and honor to be one with Christ and one with each other! May we never lose humility in the knowledge of the truth that He first chose us and made us accepted in the beloved! Praise to the Lord that we chose to yield to this drawing unto Himself, but, woe to us if He had not first loved us and extended to us this most precious gift of unity with Him, even eternal life!
With this posture of humility firmly established in our hearts and minds, let’s now look at verses four and five. Paul declares that we are one Body composed of many members, each serving a separate, important function in accomplishing Christ’s work through His Body. What an amazing thought that he chooses men and women like you and me to fulfill vital roles as individual members of His Body! Each of us has been given unique gifts and talents that are to be invested and expended for the glory of our King. So, while we are to have a posture of humility in this truth as commanded in verse three, we are also to have a posture of confidence in the gifts and talents that He has endowed upon each of us. What a travesty for one to say, “I am nothing and therefore have nothing of value to contribute to the Body of Christ.” This is a lie from the enemy! It is true that we are nothing in and of ourselves; YET, by Christ’s design, we have been made integral members of His Body and have each been given unique value to share!
Each and every part of the Body of Christ is integral in its own way. When we neglect our God-given role, the rest of the Body suffers and we miss the incredible blessings associated with doing the bidding of Christ our Head. (Luke 11:28, Gal. 6:9, Col. 3:23-24) We have each been created with purpose, and, upon receiving Christ, have been engrafted into His Body. We are to edify one another in love, invest the talents He has given us, and serve our Head – the King of Kings – with every fiber of our being. Today, let us embrace this reality with humble confidence and seek to fulfill the unique role God has given us in serving the Head and the fellow members of this Body of which we are immeasurably blessed to be part!