NewLife Anglican / Pastors Blog / Everyone a part to play – 1 Corinthians 12

Everyone a part to play – 1 Corinthians 12

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–14 NIV11)

When I have a sore toe I know it. My whole body goes out in empathy. My head is not my toe but it sure feels connected as I wince. Apparently it’s the same with balance. Of course we need our inner ears and eyesight and brains and muscles, etc. but our little toe – this strange and apparently insignificant appendage – is there doing an invaluable job. 

So we get that our bodies are made of many parts. The question is do we see the Church of God in the same way?

Paul is at pains in this 12th chapter to remove the ignorance of the Corinthians concerning spiritual gifts. He also tells them at the outset that these former idolaters have received from the Spirit the whole diversity of gifts from faith, to prophecy, to healings, and teaching, and more.

By the extended analogy of the body Paul teaches that the One Spirit who dwells in the heart of every believer gifts them with this diversity for the greater good of the Body of Christ – i.e. His Church. They are *not* a pathway to individual glory. They are not *for your own good.* 

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Care for one another is not the only outcome. The unity of the Trinitarian Gift Giver – Spirit, Lord, Father (vs 4-6) – should make itself known in a body that is similarly united, 

“ that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:25–26)

It would obviously be a complete failure if such gifts led to division! How can we avoid such things? 

Firstly, we need to see that there is one source of gifting – God Himself. That should lead us to give thanks when we see gifts at work in others – be they great or small they are there because God has appointed it.

Secondly, we should never become jealous, or depressed about our personal gifting or that of others. God has placed each gift wisely for the common good. You have a vital role to play but your role will never transcend the needs of the body.

So, thirdly, use your gift to bring glory to the Gift Giver, and benefit to your fellow members of the body. If you’re serving for you.. you’re doing it wrong.

Lastly, just like the sore little toe – let us truly live out the care and connection that the body analogy implies as we love and serve our local brothers and sisters as one body. 

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your wisdom and generosity in pouring out the gifts of Your Holy Spirit into the Church. Thanks that each one of us has a part to play. If we are unclear on what ours is help us to discover it. If we are clear, help us to see the glory and benefit flow to You first and then to our fellow believers. Build Your Church and help us to be glad that we can be a little toe, brain, eye, or hand, and play our part. Amen.”

Grace and peace,


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About The Author

Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, cyclist, photographer, and Lead Pastor. Keen to see new life in Jesus come to every home. Thankful for those partnering in doing that here at NewLife.