1 Corinthians 12:12ff
Verses 12-14: one body, each part doing what it should, when it should, communicating with the head.
Verses 15-19: one body and diversitydesiring one anothers gifts
Verses 20-24: one body and discriminationdisparaging one anothers gifts
Verses 25-27: one body and developmentdepending on one anothers gifts
Verses 28-31: one body and discretiondesiring the greater gifts
Each Member Principle
Sir Michael Costa was conducting a rehearsal in which the orchestra was joined by a great chorus. About halfway through the session, with trumpets blaring, drums rolling, and violins singing their rich melody, the piccolo player muttered to himself, “What good am I doing? I might just as well not be playing. Nobody can hear me anyway.” So he kept the instrument to his mouth, but he made no sound. Within moments, the conductor cried, “Stop! Stop! Wheres the piccolo?” It was missed by the ear of the most important person of all.
A talented, young concert pianist was drafted in WWI and sent to the front line. In a fierce battle he was badly wounded in his right arm. The doctors decided that unless they amputated that arm, which they did, the soldier would die. Although this was devastating to the musician, he was determined not to let it destroy his future. After recovering, he went from composer to composer, asking for compositions for the left hand only. No one was willing to help until he visited Maurice Ravel, the brilliant French composer of Bolero. He responded to the young mans need and wrote the moving Concerto in D Major for Left Hand. Audiences everywhere were stirred by the pianists rendition of this beautiful music.
Dizzy Dean, famous baseball pitcher, once was hit by a line drive directly on his toe. Not too big a deal. But he didnt give it adequate time to heal and instead kept pitching. Because of the pain he felt whenever he put any weight on that toe, he changed his delivery. This put additional stress on his pitching arm, and forced him into retirement. A “little thing” like a stubbed toe ended up having major and unforeseen consequences.
In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. Finally, he decided to build a church for a legacy. The complete plans for the church were kept secret. When the people gathered, they marveled at the churchs beauty and completeness. Following many comments of praise, an astute observer inquired, “But where are the lamps? How will the church be lighted?”
Without answer, the nobleman pointed to some brackets in the wall; he then gave to each family a lamp to be carried to the worship service and hung on the wall. “Each time you are here, the area where you are seated will be lighted,” the nobleman explained. “Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. Whenever you fail to come to church some part of Gods house will be dark.
Run for Sheriff
Senator Howard Baker reports:
“My grandmother, a delightful lady who lived to be 102, once served as the sheriff of Roane County, Tennessee. At a party in her honor, just prior to my announcement as a candidate for President, Mother Ladd asked me, “Howard, are you really serious about this business of running for President?” I said I certainly was, to which she replied, “Well, okay then, I guess Ill support you.” I told Mother Ladd I would certainly appreciate it. And she responded, “Look, Howard, Im gonna support you. But Ill tell you right now, if you really want to go where the power is, run for sheriff!”
- Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 312
Captain or Engineer
A certain sea captain and his chief engineer argued as to which of them was the more important to the ship. Failing to agree, they resorted to the unique plan of swapping places. The Chief ascended to the bridge and the Captain went into the engine room.
After a couple of hours the Captain suddenly appeared on the deck covered with oil and soot. “Chief!” he yelled, wildly waving aloft a monkey wrench. “Youll have to come down here; I cant make er go!”
“Of course you cant,” replied the Chief. “Shes aground!”
The story is told of a great orchestra gathered for rehearsal under the celebrated conductor, Sir Michael Costa. As the music reached a crescendo every instrument playedexcept one. Exhausted, the piccolo player had momentarily lost track of the music. He hoped his instrument wouldnt be missed. Suddenly, Costa brought down his arms and stopped the orchestra. “Wheres the piccolo?” he demanded. Even in the resounding echo of many loud instruments, the tiny piccolo was missed!
Trees have made an alliance with another amazing microscopic symbiont, mycorrhiza fungi. Beneath the typical tree, roots generally reach half as deep and twice as wide as the tree we see above ground. When the roots of two trees touch, a battle for dominance usually ensuesunless the mycorrhiza fungi are on the scene. Forest scientist David Perry of Oregon State University has found that these fungi not only reduce competition between the trees but also link together roots from trees of the same or even different species. In one experiment, Perry grew seedlings and watched their roots join through the mycorrhiza. Then the scientist cast shade over one of the seedlings. The shaded tree began to draw nutrients from the sunlit tree through the fungal linkage between them. “Thanks to these fungi,” says Perry, “It could be that a whole forest is linked together like a community. If one tree has access to water, another to nutrients, a third to sunlight, the trees apparently can share with one another.”
Don McCullough writes in Waking from the American Dream: “During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Picadilly Circus after the war. First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky. Last of all he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miners caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, And where were you during the critical days of our struggle? And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.
Not all the jobs in a church are prominent and glamorous. but it is often the people with their “faces to the coal” who help the church accomplish its mission.