God on Monday
Those parts of the body which we consider less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor (1 Cor 12:23a).
Do you ever find yourself living or working in an unhealthily competitive environment? Rivalry and envy can ensue when one or more members of a group constantly draw attention (however surreptitiously) to their opportunities and associations.
Sadly, this experience is all-too-common, even in churches. From what we can gather from the letters the Apostle Paul send it, the church in Corinth was just such an environment (1 Corin 1.10-17; 11.17-22). Happily, its rivalrous culture, and the division it fostered, provokes Paul to write one of the world’s most compelling and celebrated reflections on love (1 Cor 13).
It also provokes him to write, just before that reflection, an equally arresting passage that uses the analogy of the human body made up of many parts or ‘members’ (1 Cor 12.12-31a) to describe the proper functioning of the church.
He has some fun with that analogy, even making thinly veiled references to genitalia. But the message he embeds within his humour is utterly serious: every member - even embarrassing or seemingly dishonourable ones - is indispensable to the church’s being and action. Each has a unique gifting and calling that ought to be valued by all.
Still today, some vocations are esteemed higher than others. Church leaders, healthcare professionals and educators are generally held in greater regard than business leaders, for instance. What can we do to challenge such bias, with humour and love?
Thank you God that you oppose the proud but lift up the humble. Help us to follow Christ’s example of honouring the dishonourable.
Peter S Heslam, Director of Faith in Business.
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