Who is the most important person in your church? (Yes, we know that we should all say “Jesus”, but who is the most important after Him?) The pastor? The music leader? The head of the elders? Maybe that influential person who has been with the congregation for decades, and subtly directs major decisions?
New question: Who is the most important person in the Body of Christ, today? (Again, after Jesus, that is.) A great preacher? The most successful evangelist? Megachurch leaders? Whoever has the most follows, likes, or views online?
It is great that there are “super-Christians” among us – those whose ministries are blessed by God, and lead many people to the blessings of following Jesus, or to grow in their faith. In fact, Paul – perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek – talks a couple of times in the book of 2 Corinthians about “super-apostles”: see 2 Corinthians 11:5 and 2 Corinthians 12:11.
However, in the chapter from 1 Corinthians that precedes the “love chapter” (the one we usually hear from at weddings), this statement appears:
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
1 Corinthians 12:22 NLT
In the Body of Christ, there are members – followers of Jesus – who are highly visible, and seem to be the most important. However, this verse reminds us to not overlook others who may not get the spotlight, since they may very well be critical to the well-being of the Body itself.
How about the small group who cleans the communion trays? Someone who keeps the bathrooms clean? That lady who rocks babies to sleep in the nursery? How about that person with special needs, who loves Jesus (and tells others about Him) but doesn’t speak as articulately as others? Do you know the person who vacuums the carpets (or sweeps the floors – even if they are dirt floors) where you worship? Who sets up and takes down chairs every week (especially if you worship in a rented facility or home), or goes through the pews and makes sure that they are stocked with pencils and prayer cards?
Each of these people has his or her part to play. So does the person who wrestles in prayer on behalf of others, cooks food for a church potluck or bake sale, or listens to the pastor’s sermon ahead of time to offer discerning feedback to him. The sound system can’t accompany the worship of God’s people if the treasurer didn’t pay the electric bill (not that the sound of His children’s voices, reflecting hearts of worship, isn’t praise for God all by itself).
So, the next time you are gathered with fellow believers, maybe take a look around to see who some of the quieter or less-visible contributors are. Take a moment to recognize their role in the body, and thank them for making much bigger and better things possible, just by following their personalized direction from God.
Or, maybe you are one of the less-visible (or less well-known) members of the community of believers. If so, let me take this opportunity to thank you for your help. Remember that you are not just part of the Body; you may be one of the most necessary parts! God sees you, and what you do, even if the rest of the world does not (see Matthew 6:1-6, as well as 1 Timothy 5:25, if you need a bit of encouragement).
And, in the end, may we all work together, doing our own part without envying the roles of others, and achieve the cooperative success that God intends.
This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
1 Corinthians 12:25 NLT
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.