In a Family...
In Romans 12, Paul makes an argument for a unity based on a diversity of our gifts. We all have different functions in the body, and we must use our different gifts to build up the body. But we must be very careful not to make Paul say more than what he really said. Paul does argue for a diversity of function, but he doesn’t suggest that our function makes us valuable to God or his kingdom. After making a similar argument on the diversity of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 (our daily Bible reading tomorrow), Paul includes this disclaimer—
22 Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
Some parts of the body seem more prominent and important, but we treat the less prominent parts with special modesty and care. In the same way, “more prominent” parts of the body of Christ (whoever they may be) must go out of their way to take care of the less prominent parts (whoever they may be).
Here is the difference between an organization and a family. In an organization, there is often a hierarchy of importance. Those who contribute the most to the organization are valued the most. Well, the church isn’t an organization; it is a family. In a family, everyone is valuable just because they are part of the family. They may not perform as vital a function in the family as another person, but they are valuable simply because they are family. Daddy may be the breadwinner and the entire family depends directly upon him. Baby doesn't contribute a single function to the family... except providing constant chaos. But who is the most important to the family? All are family! Pragmatically, by virtue of a greater need, Baby may get the lion’s share of the family's attention. In a family, sometimes it is the one who needs the most attention that gets the most attention.
We must make the church the kind of family where there are no prominent members or non-prominent members. We are family, and we must not allow ourselves to order ourselves based upon the hierarchy of an organization. We are God's family. And thus we are of equal value to God and to one another.