Romans 12:4-8

For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8

The Houston Texans started a new quarterback on Sunday and ended up winning the game. As much as I believe that sports are overblown in our country, there is still many life lessons that playing games can teach us.

The new quarterback played well enough for the team to win. But he didn’t win the game himself. It took the whole team.

Paul uses a few sports analogies in talking about the Christian faith but his favorite analogy is the human body. Our bodies, comprised of interdependent parts and systems, reflect our connectedness and relationship with the world around us. But not only that, our physical bodies reflect our connectedness and relationship to Jesus in that, together, we are the body of Christ in the world.

We all know that. We have all heard that before. There is no surprise in being reminded that we all have been given different sets of gifts, each of which has an invaluable contribution to make the wider common good of all. We aren’t even surprised to read the list of gifts.

Prophecy is the insight to tell the truth about the way life really is. Ministry is caring for and loving others. Teaching is helping others learn. Exhortation is offering encouragement to others. Giving is being generous with all that we have. Leadership is influencing others toward a desired outcome. Compassion is connecting with the pain of others and reconnecting them to hope.

None of that surprises us. We recognize those gifts as essential to the team, to the work of the body of Christ in the world.

But what does surprise us is the statement that “individually we are members one of another.” This, in a culture that prides itself on individualism and “it’s OK if nobody gets hurt”, cuts deeply. It means quite literally that we belong to one another and therefore we are accountable to one another. It means we can’t divide humanity into competing teams without paying a personal price.

This is the statement that holds together so many of the paradoxes of our lives – we receive by giving away, we win by surrendering, we show up for the sake of others, we welcome others and, in that, we find ourselves at home.

We are connected to each other. Keep that in mind as you move through this day. How different does the world look when we see all that moves around us as parts of a whole rather than disconnected pieces.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, give us a glimpse today, just a quick glimpse, of the connectedness within which we live. Help us see ourselves and others as members of the same body, reflections of your presence in the world. Help us see how our gifts contribute to the common good of all. May we find the joy of being a part of life as we do our part in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Romans 12:4-8”

  1. Tim Anderson Says:

    yes – interconnected, so much more than we know . . .

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