“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.” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26 NLT)
Have you ever stubbed you toe? Of course, you have. But I’m not talking about a little wimpy bump that gets your attention, then you move on. I’m talking about “falling on the floor screaming when no one is there and you know intellectually that it’s not helping anything, but you’ve just got to do it” kind of stub!
It’s the kind of pain that radiates through your whole body and just doesn’t want to stop hurting. Your response is involuntary. You can’t help but feel it. It stops you in your tracks and demands your attention.
That’s what Paul is talking about in the verses above. He’s using the analogy of the human body to describe how we’re to care for one another in the Body of Christ. It’s not an “obligation” in a negative sense, but in a compassionate sense.
On some levels it’s like telling a new husband he has an obligation to have sex with his new bride. Of course, they each have a Biblical responsibility to meet one another’s sexual needs, but it’s not so much a “have to,” as a “get to.” At least that’s God’s design.
That’s the privilege we have as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ – and no, I’m not talking about having sex with each other. I’m talking about having the privilege of caring for and loving one another like we love our own body. Caring is a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility.
My precious wife has gifts of mercy and compassion. She takes caring for others very seriously. She goes far beyond the norm and sacrifices for the good of others. We have a Care Ministry through our local church that seeks to put people together, in much the same way as you pair a need with a solution in any other area of life.
For example, if I need to remodel my bathroom, there are people who specialize in that. Similarly, because my wife is a retired nurse, if someone has a medical issue that is sometimes complex and they may not be able to understand what’s going on with their own body, Kathy will go with them to doctor’s appointments to help them navigate their care process.
Our church has an expression I find very appealing. They say: “Before anything else, we’re family!” We have a group app that helps us communicate needs quickly and easily. We share prayer needs – anything from a Mission’s trip or family vacation, to serious medical issues, surgeries, and death. We take prayer very seriously.
Another way we give expression to our care for one another is: “Prayer is the work. Then God works.” Care, like prayer, isn’t an obligatory “chore” we do so we can check it off our “to do” list, but a privilege the Lord has given us to not only nurture our relationship with Him but give tangible evidence of our care for one another.
We must be attentive to the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, not because we “have to,” but because we “get to.” It’s a very practical way to illustrate our love, not only for one another, but for God. Remember what Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!” (Matthew 25:40)
Blessings, Ed 😊