Parts aren’t just Parts, They are the Church
Devotional Thought of The Day:
18 But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” 22 Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, 23 and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, 24 whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. 26 If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. NABRE – 1 Cor 12:18-26
Our faith is not for ourselves alone; it is also for others. Faith wants to be shared. Consequently, it always involves a going out to others, going with the steps of a heart enlightened by the name of Jesus. (1)
I can’t help but think of the the old catch-phrase. “parts is parts” when I come across this section of the 1 Corinthians. So I looked it up, and it comes from an old fast food commercial, mocking another food chains description of their chicken product. The basic idea that the 2nd chain’s employees tossed every part of the bird into the grinders – saying the description is “parts” and therefore any part meets the description.
We’ve come to the point in the church where I think we take the same attitude. Toss anyone into any role, it doesn’t matter what their vocation, or their training. After all – we are all believers; we are all priests and children of the king. So we are like legos – and we can fit in anywhere. Just plug them in, and keep building. Don’t worry if they do or don’t fit there, don’t be concerned whether they burn out. Don’t treat them as an individual. Cause parts are parts
The result of such is a generation of people who don’t value the church, because the church didn’t value them. The church didn’t take the time, invest in them, provided what they need, to be the part of the God designed them to be.
The problem with this attitude is that it doesn’t value the person, or the work God is doing through them. It assigns to each person a generic value, and may even put them and others in spiritual danger. Sometimes, this is simply because the frustration leads them to give up on being “part” and they walk away. Other times, their inaction leads a part of the body to get overlooked, and sometimes they drive others away because they don’t function well where we put them.
Each “part” has its place. A vocation where that person can share the grace and mercy, the peace and love that God has blessed them with. Sometimes that is very surprising, both to them and to us. For all the interests and surveys ever written cannot adequately understand the plans of God. As they find their “part,” they do what they are called to do, and it is natural as they flourish, as all benefit of their talents, their gifts, and the knowledge and wisdom God gives them.
This takes faith, a trust in God that calls for discernment, as those who care and serve the church watch the “parts” come together, and shepherd them into places. It takes patience, and understanding that we can only do what we have parts to do, and yet that work in and of itself is beautiful. )too often we force people into parts that aren’t their vocation and calling because we “have” to have that ministry, or offer this or that)
Each person has their place; each person has their vocation, their part. When we allow them, and guide them to finding it, what we see is amazing. It is nothing less than the Body of Jesus Christ.
(1) Ratzinger, Joseph. Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Ed. Irene Grassl. Trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Print.