Celebrating our uniqueness

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS / Guest Columnist

My friend Wayne was a pastor in Montgomery. We visited one day, and he was excited to tell me about something he’d recently discovered.

“Air Supply is the greatest music I’ve ever heard!” he said. He went on and on about how great this music was and gave me a cassette to take home. In those days we could play cassettes in our cars. I gave Air Supply a spin or two, but soon tired of them. Wayne thought they were great, but I stuck with Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, Anne Murray and Karen Carpenter.

The apostle Paul used the analogy of the human body to describe the church in 1 Corinthians 12. He said one is the eye, one is the ear; one is the foot, one is the hand. Then he expanded his list to include the nose, or sense of smell. This isn’t an exhaustive list of organs, of course, but a representative list. Then Paul imagined a civil war in the body when organs disagreed over who was most important. His point was that every part of the body is significant. If one refuses to function the body is impaired.

In this chapter Paul underscored individualism within the body. He used the word “different” three times in vs. 4-6 and continued in v. 27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.”

Most of us have been shamed due to what others do. “Johnny comes in from school and does his homework first thing. Why don’t you do that instead of waiting until night?” or “Sam has an immaculate yard. I wish you did what Sam does.” And surely we can profit from the example of others. But in the body of Christ, we celebrate diversity. The body of Christ is filled with butchers and bakers and candlestick makers and no one is supposed to be a cookie-cutter version of somebody else. We are many parts and we’re designed by God to be special and unique.

Just as organs cooperate for the good of the body, Christians cooperate for the greater good of ministry.

In the church we proclaim that God made us just as we are, and he redeemed us to make us the best we can be, with his help. Our uniqueness makes each of us essential in the work of ministry.

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is Siluriabaptist.com.