The setting of the first “flash mob” video I remember watching was in a train station. What musical nerd wouldn’t be intrigued to watch something with the title that had something to do with Sound of Music and flash mob? I watched with curiosity, unsure of what was going to happen. The music began over the PA system and yet, for a few seconds, people still ambled by, practically un-phased by the change from the usual music and announcements. Suddenly, out of the crowd, one man steps into the center of the room and begins to dance. A little girl joins him, in perfect sync, a few seconds later. More and more people join into a beautifully choreographed routine. The bystander’s smiles grow wider and some even try to dance along. The beauty of the routine is that each of the hundreds of dancers who ultimately end up in finale has an exact purpose. If one dancer did not play their part, or slacked on learning the routine, the end result would not have been as spectacular as it was. Teamwork is a beautiful, glorious thing. Remembering that flash mob made me think about how it could actually be compared to an even more beautiful thing: the body of Christ. Before I try to pen some of my thoughts on this, check out God’s Words about this!
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:4-31
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:4-7, 11-16
The most excellent comparison of the ideal body of Christ, and the easiest to grasp, is the human body. One ultimate unit, but it is made up of many, many smaller parts that work together for final benefit. When it all works properly, everything works smoothly and easily. However, when one part is not working, that is where things go wrong. Think of a stubbed toe. It’s just a small part of the body, but, oh boy, does the whole body know when it’s hurt!
Go back to the flash mob for a minute. Think about all the parts that made it work. You’re first thought was all the dancers, wasn’t it? Mine was too. But, the more I thought about it, I realized that the dancers were only a part. If you watch the video, close your eyes. What do you notice? If you’re eyes are really closed, you are not seeing the dancers. Instead you are hearing the music. As a musician, I could go on and on for days about Julie Andrew’s perfect voice or the music genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I won’t bore you to death. However, they all in some way played a part in how the flash mob turned out. Next, think about the mastermind who coordinated the flash mob. With hundreds of dancers, someone had to not only be the coordinator of the event itself, but also recruiting and practicing. Now think about the choreography. Someone had to use their creativity to choreography a dance that worked in a busy station with hundreds of dancers in perfect unison. So many parts willing to work together, one final outcome that is most pleasing to the senses. Some many different roles, talents, minds, gifts.
Back to the body of Christ. The first thing we need to always remember is to focus on the mastermind of this body. Christ is the head of the church. He binds us together and makes known our paths. He desires and is pleased when each of us plays our part as He intended. Like the brain sending signals to each part of the body, God guides each of us in our gifts and role to play in the earthly body of Christ, His church.
God has called each one of us to serve Him. He created us for His pleasure, not our own. When we do our part in service to Him, we bring Him pleasure, glory, and honor. He did not create us to be exact molds of each other, but complimentary pieces of one body. He gave each of us gifts so that we can work together, building each other up, helping each other, and encouraging each other in our growth to become more like Christ. If we all had the same gift or function in the body, how boring would that be! Imagine a body of all noses. While we would enjoy (or not enjoy) the smells of the world, we would not be able to enjoy a colorful work of arts or a finely played melody. For a body to work, differences are vital.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that we will always like or appreciate the differences. With God’s help, however, we can strive to become a well-oiled machine, each of us using the gifts God gave us to work together for His glory and to help each other become more like Him. We should be thankful that the function of the church is not resting on our shoulders alone. We could never do this thing called life on our own! We can also be thankful that God gave us the gifts He knows are perfect for us. He has given us the role that we need to glorify Him and become more Christ-like, in word, deed, heart, and action. His plans are perfect. He understands far more than we do that we need each other. He understands that our differences may be hard for us to overcome due to our sinful nature. But He also knows that His body is perfect when everyone plays their role.
Sometime the body doesn’t quite work. One day the eyes may get blurry, a limb gets broken, or an infection sets in. How does the biological body respond in those situations? We can get corrective lenses for the vision issues, crutches and/or a cast for the broken limb, and medications for the infection. The body then fights to heal itself. Likewise, the spiritual body can get blurry vision, a broken limb, or an infection. What do we do then? For blurry vision, we can work to correct that through prayer and looking at God’s Word as our corrective lens. For a broken limb, we can lean on other children of Christ for support and help during the healing process. For an infection, we can purify ourselves through prayer, confession, and meditation on God’s guidance for His will and plan for us. And these are just some examples of many. God’s design for us is not to fail, but to be perfect when we all look to Him as the head of the body and work together by sharing our gifts to please the One who gave us each unique gifts. God truly is the creator of the most amazing creations. And He has chosen us! Because of that fact alone, how can we not want to serve Him, glorify Him, and honor Him?
In a perfect world, every part of the body of Christ would always get alone. No one would ever disagree. No one would fall away. Everyone would always play their role, while also trying to go above and beyond serving one another. Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. We fight, we argue, and we nit-pick everything. Just because one person takes a break from “working” the way God intended them to does not mean that we all should. What if our entire body decided to give up just because of a stubbed toe? (Sometimes it feels like it though!) That’s rather preposterous! The body doesn’t work that way. Things do change when one part isn’t working up to par, but it doesn’t stop. Using the stubbed to example, the leg and foot on the opposite side typically has to work a bit harder to compensate for balancing or walking differently to help with the pain or discomfort on the injured side. But it doesn’t always stay like that. Once the toe is no longer hurting, both legs and feet can go back to working equally. Similarly, in the body or Christ, when a brother or sister falls or is hurting, the other members of the body can work overtime to help, encourage, admonish, strengthen, and draw back into the body a member of the body that desires to serve God with their counterparts. The body working together in general, but also in a healing sense, is a thing of magnificence. This is what God intended: His children working together in service to Him.
When we play our part in pleasing God, the result is two-fold. First, when we acknowledge and use the gifts God gave to us, our service brings pleasure to God. This was His perfect plan, design, and intention for us, His creation. This should be our ultimate goal even though we as human tend to be quite selfish and only think about how we think and feel. The second part does have to do with us. When we bring pleasure to God, we actual benefit in that we feel pleasure in knowing that we are serving and pleasing Him. Just like a child delights in showing his or her parents something they did that they know the parents will find pleasing, we should feel that same pride in a job well done when we use our God-given gifts to glorify God. We should proudly be able to go to God and say “look at how I was able to use the gift you gave me to serve you; thank you, God, for that gift.” In return, at the end of our lives, we can anticipate the words any child of God yearns to hear: “well done, good and faithful servant.”
It’s time to play our part in God’s perfect choreography in earnest!