I have never had the patience to sit down and work a puzzle. I’ve been told that you’re supposed to find the edge pieces first and connect them so that the border is complete, and then you can fill in the rest of the pieces from there. Great idea, but by the time I’ve got the border pieces connected, I’m ready to move on to something else. The few times (and I emphasize “few”) that I’ve tried putting a puzzle together, inevitably I get to the last pieces, and several are missing! Talk about frustrating. Now the picture is incomplete, unfinished, and deficient.
So it is in the Body of Christ. Every member of the Body of Christ is vital. Without each “piece,” the picture is incomplete. The Bible says we are a unit with each part of the unit having a role. Unfortunately, not every member sees himself or herself as really a part of Christ’s body. Or, some may see membership in the Body akin to membership in a club. They “pay” for services and benefits rather than contributing as a part of a family dynamic through relationships, service and spiritual growth. Still others may not feel like they “fit” in the Body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13 we read that “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” Oneness doesn’t come through personality, gifts, functions, roles, or responsibilities. Unity doesn’t come through our individuality but through our commonality--what we share in common. Your hand is not united because of each individual finger, but because of the palm that brings them together. Unity comes through one Spirit. We drink of that one Spirit. If I drink of the same source as you do, we both have that source inside of us. When we drink of the Spirit—when we receive the Spirit into our lives by surrendering to Jesus—we are united as one.
Several years ago I traveled to a remote village in the “bush,” hours away from Nampula, Mozambique. Dan Been, the missionary who hosted me, was driving a four-wheel truck, and we went from a paved road to a dirt road to a dirt path. He drove us as far as the truck could go, and then we left the truck and walked another mile or so to the village. We came to a clearing, and in front of this tiny clay-brick church building, we saw brothers and sisters in Christ, half-way around the world, worshiping the same Lord through the same Spirit. After they sang, the first thing we did was sit down and share communion. We were different races with different languages, different dress styles, different worship styles, but we drank of the same Spirit.
Likewise, each Christian has many differences--different gifts, different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses, different tastes, different opinions, but we all drink of the one Spirit! The nature of the Body of Christ is that we are ONE! I write this to you who are followers of Jesus Christ: You have received the Holy Spirit in your life. You were made to drink of the one Spirit. And you have a role in the Body of Christ through that Spirit. Without you, the beautiful mosaic of the Church is incomplete. How precious it is for brothers and sisters to dwell, function, and operate in the unity of the Spirit (cp. Psalm 133:1)! “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Amen and amen!