You're an Important Part!
Passage: 1 Corinthians 12:12–12:31
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
Date: January 24th 2016; Epiphany 3; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
One of my favourite movies growing up was the Bad News Bears - I’m talking about the original one from 1976.
The movie is about a hodgepodge of kids who were brought together to play some baseball.
The coach, played by Walter Matthau, had the difficult task of uniting this mixed bag of kids from all walks of life into a team.
These kids were the ones who were picked last in gym class. They weren't very talented. No other teams wanted them.
One of the most important jobs that the coach had to do was to have them stick around when things weren’t going well.
He had to convince them that they belonged on the team and they had to stick together, and work together, through the good times and the bad.
This provides a great illustration for what Paul was talking about in our Epistle lesson.
God has gathered each of us, a hodgepodge of sinners from all walks of life, and has put us on his team. He has made us the body of Christ!
Each of us has unique gifts, and working together, we are destined to win.
We are individual parts who form one body.
Our bodies have many parts (eyes, ears, a heart, lungs, hands, feet), yet all work together and form one body.
And so it is with the body of Christ!
The body of Christ consists of unique and diverse individuals with diverse and unique gifts.
It includes Jews and Gentiles, people with different ethnic and family backgrounds.
It includes people of many cultures, different political and socioeconomic backgrounds. People with different experiences and perspectives on things
Yet all of these, all of us, have been united in one Baptism, one Spirit, on Body.
The Body of Christ - this is who we are!
And you are a critical part of the Body of Christ according to God’s design and intent.
Although we may at times question our value and worth in the church, or we may question if or how we fit in - the truth of the matter is that you are of utmost importance and value to the Body.
The foot and the ear cannot separate themselves from the body because they are not a hand or eye.
No part of the body should feel superior or inferior than another because of what it does or does not do for the body - all are of great value and importance.
Try walking in a straight line with your eyes blindfolded, running a race with your legs tied together, or buttoning your shirt with broken hands. You will quickly discover how important each body part is!
And as it is with our bodies, so it is with the Body of Christ. The diversity and uniqueness of each part is essential and is a blessing!
Could the Treasurer pay the bills of our congregation, could we support the work of our District and Synod, if the members did not provide an offering?
Could our offerings be accounted for without a Financial Secretary?
Could our building remain in good repair without skilled people looking after the church property?
Could there be direction for the congregation in both temporal and spiritual matters without a President, Vice-President, Elders, and voters?
Could our Sunday School, Bible Studies, and other means of learning and growing in God’s Word continue without the hard work of our Board of Education, volunteer teachers, and without those who learn?
Could lunches be provided for funerals, meetings, and other occasions without the efforts of those who provide for our fellowship?
Could love, care, encouragement, prayers, and support be offered for each other, and the world, without the different parts of the body?
We suffer together. We rejoice together. We need each other!
According to God’s grace, we are the Body of Christ.
We may not always even be aware of the role we are playing, but as part of the Body, we know that God is always working through us according to the gifts and talents he has given us.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are recipients of Christ’s love and mercy.
We are the “poor,” the “captives,” the “blind” the “oppressed” who have received God’s forgiveness, healing, and eternal life.
Jesus life, death, and resurrection gives to us new life and identity by grace through faith.
In Christ, we are united individuals, we are the communion of the saints.
We rejoice that God has saved us and has made us one.
We rejoice that God has given us the privilege an honour to be an important part of his Body as we love and serve him by loving and serving each other and the world around us.
The Church, the Body of Christ, that is who we are.
For those of you who have not seen The Bad News Bears, the team ended up winning the championship.
It took a while for the team to mesh, and at first, they were the worst team in the league.
There was a lot of fighting and dissension among the individual players.
But then they began to care for each other and play like a team and ended up champions.
In Christ, we care for each other.
We forgive and seek reconciliation when we hurt each other.
We work and serve together, each a vital part of the team.
In Christ we have triumphed over sin and death - and with certain hope, we look forward to the victory of eternal life that has been won for us by our Saviour, Christ Jesus.
You are an important, valuable, and cherished part of the Body of Christ.
God has arranged each one of us has he chose.
We are many parts, yet one Body.
How blessed we are to be the Body of Christ! Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.