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December 7, 2023

Unseen But Not Unimportant

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.

–1 Corinthians 12:22-23

Some Corinthian Christians did not feel their spiritual gifts were needed, so they isolated themselves from the church. Paul said no, all the parts of the body are needed. But there were others in the church who believed their gifts made them self-sufficient. They thought they did not need anybody else. So Paul emphasized our interdependence in the body of Christ. Look at 1 Corinthians 12:20-22: “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.”

Do you see how Paul turned his argument around? He said, yes, your gift is needed in the church, but you need the other parts of the body as well. When Paul mentioned “members of the body which seem to be weaker” (v. 22), he was referring to those parts of the body that are hidden from human sight. You cannot see somebody’s heart or liver or kidneys. But are those parts inferior because they cannot be seen? Of course not. In many ways, they are more vital than the parts that can be seen. After all, what would concern you more: having foot surgery or having heart surgery? It is the same way in the church. Sometimes those gifts that are behind the scenes are the most vital to the body of Christ.

Paul continued in verse 23, “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.” Now, I do not think of stomachs as being particularly attractive. But what do we do to our stomachs? We feed them. We bestow honor upon them. Those parts of the body that seem inferior are in many ways more important than the visible parts of the body.

It is the same way in the body of Christ. On Sunday mornings at First Baptist Dallas, there are some people who are up front in the sanctuary exercising their spiritual gifts. But there are other, unseen parts of the body that are vital to the ministry of the church. While I am preaching, there are technicians making sure the message goes out to people around the world. There are people working in the preschool taking care of children. There are people on their knees praying for the moving of the Holy Spirit. Just because those people are unseen during the service, are they unimportant in the body of Christ? No. Sometimes those gifts that are not seen are the most important parts of the body.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Unified but Not Uniform” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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