If you were to pick one of the New Testament churches as the model church, the church of Corinth would probably be last on the list. This church (remarkably still called saints in 1 Cor. 1:2–a true sign of God’s gracious nature) was filled with virtually every vice and was divided on essentially every issue of the faith. Throughout 1 Corinthians, Paul attempts to unify the body on different issues, and his plea for unity culminates in this chapter through an illustration that is easy for all of us to relate to.
Just as the body is unable to go anywhere if its right and left legs don’t work together, so also the body of Christ is not much good without being unified in the person of Christ. Oftentimes in the church, jealousy runs rampant–people want to serve in one capacity, but they are ill-suited for that ministry and would be better used in a different area. Paul’s call here is clear–don’t wish that you were someone else! Use the gifts that God has given you, and why? Paul gives us the answer in a similar passage in Ephesians 4:12-16: to build up the body of Christ. How are you using your gifts to build up the body of Christ? In what way are you bringing about unity in the church?
Holy, Gracious God, three distinct persons yet one united Godhead, we ask that our church body would reflect your unity. As we serve you, we ask that your glory would be our single concern, as we build up the body of Christ unto full maturity. For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.