When I read Paul’s words about the way the body of Christ is supposed to look, I don’t believe he is saying that we need to spend a bunch of time finding out who has what talent and how the church can use these talents to share the gospel with the world. I see Paul saying to the church in Ephesus and to the church in Corinth that they should see everyone in terms of the value that God has given to their lives and not what their eyes have given them by observation. I see the symbolism that Paul uses of the different parts of the body to help us understand something very profound. It is through the parts of our body that seem to be insignificant during certain jobs, and can actually be really significant if we tried to do those jobs without them. In the same way, all people are of value to the body of Christ, even though we may not see the value they have at the time that they come into our view. We may see an addict, or a divorced mom of three children, or a single man who has lived in his car for the past 20 years, but God sees a beloved sons or daughters that have eternal value that may or may not ever be visible to us.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he says “If a foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it does not for this reason belong to the body.” (1 Corinthians 12:15 NABRE) He is reminding us that people who find themselves outside of the body of Christ cannot be justified when they say they don’t belong, because they have yet to find their value inside the body. For this reason, the church should see every person with the value that they have as a child of God and not with the value that they have been given by the world that we live in. As we know, it is very difficult to discern your value as a child of God while acting outside of the body of Christ. Paul says that should honor the parts that have not been shown honor, so there is no division in the body. At least that is way that I read the second part of the 24th verse of the 12th chapter of his letter to the Corinthians, and I think when we are doing church correctly, that you see the people who the world would consider weak, being honored.
At the end of the 12th chapter of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, he says that he will show them a still more excellent way. This still more excellent way, is the Crux that our professor talked about in his first video, and it is about loving others in the way that the Father loves us. I heard it said once that the way that we should read the explanation of God’s love in the 13th chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians is by inserting our name every time he says, “Love”. It is a challenge, but it is a challenge that is worth taking to see the world and everyone in it through the loving eyes of the Father, instead of our judgmental human eyes.