There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in us.
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it only had one part! Yes, there are many parts but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you”. The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you”.
This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12
There is something fresh and alive about the way the Holy Spirit moves and shapes a church, equipping individuals with unique gifts and strengths, then fitting them together to become one body. It’s a powerful picture! A limb on its own, disconnected from the rest of the body, is lifeless and can do nothing. But when it finds its rightful place, it is a valuable asset, designed for a unique purpose.
When one part of the body is hurting, the rest of the body is affected and hurts with it. It’s the same in a healthy church, as people are knitted so closely together, that your pain becomes my pain and your gain becomes my gain. Where one part is weak, the other parts will step in with their strength. When one part is moving forward, the rest celebrate and move with it. We are not individuals, competing against one another but we are one body, working together towards the same goal.
As living bodies need to be connected to a mind for them to function, so we, as a church body, are meant to come together under one head and authority. Jesus calls us to be his hands and feet. We are not the brains making the calls, we are the ones responding to his signals and putting them into action. We are not called to create our own mission but to hear God’s word and obey. As the same Holy Spirit leads each individual, we find ourselves living in unity.
I believe that, as God fits the different parts together as one body, connected to one head, he wants one heart to be at the centre. His. In the same way that our physical hearts pump blood to every part of our bodies, so the heartbeat of God should reach each one of us. What breaks the heart of God should break the heart of his church. What angers him, should also anger us. What pleases him should please us. We each have hearts as individuals that beat for unique causes but as one body, they come under submission to God’s greater will. Our selfish desires are exchanged for his desires. No longer is it all about us, but we find our place in the bigger picture. We no longer live for our own profit; we have died to ourselves and now live for Christ.