The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:5: “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” Here and in several other of his letters to the early churches, Paul stresses how we are all joined together in the body of Christ. What happens to one, matters to all, he says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).
While we go along day to day, Sunday to Sunday just sort of “knowing” this, throughout the year there are many times we are dramatically reminded that we are all part of the body of Christ. When someone is sick and we surround them in prayers, when we welcome a baby into new life in baptism, when we lift up the names of departed loved ones on All Saints’ Sunday, when some of our young people join us at the communion table for the first time… These occasions remind us vividly of the unity we share in Christ.
But sometimes it can be easy to forget that each of us is an important, valued member of the body of Christ. We can think no one notices us or values us or that our being part of the body of Christ matters. I came across the following story that helps redirect our thoughts.
As the story goes, they built a new church building and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired its beauty! Up on the roof, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely structure—except the nail! No one even knew he was there, and he became angry and jealous.
“If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!” So the nail then released its hold, slid down the roof, and fell in the mud.
That night it rained and rained. Soon, the shingle that had no nail blew away, and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall, the carpet was stained, and the pulpit Bible was ruined by water. All this because a little nail decided to quit!
But what of the nail? While holding the shingle, it was obscure but it was also useful. Buried in the mud it was just as obscure, but now it was useless and would soon be eaten up by rust!
The message of the story is every member is important to the Christ’s body, the church! You may, like the nail, feel obscure at times, but just like the nail, your absence is felt. When you are not present for worship or fellowship, in some way the body of Christ hurts. We are all a part of the Lord’s ministry.
May the peace of Christ be with you as you walk with him, following his teaching to love God and to love each other. Paul encourages us to remember this message in Colossians 3:14-15: “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” Amen.