1 Corinthians 12:12-27
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Each person plays a valuable part in the body of Christ.
We all make up the body of Christ and we play a valuable part in what God is doing in the world.
But what happens when we let labels get in the way of that calling? In the way of that unity? In the way of the goodness of God and all that God has to offer this world?
Watch this video as an intro to what I will be discussing in this post.
My friends, we live in a world where labels are second nature.
Married or single,
gay or straight,
black or white,
poor or rich,
Christian or none-Christian,
liberal or conservative,
too skinny or too fat……..the list goes on and on.
In a world where we are all labeled on the daily, it’s easy to get caught up in what others are saying about us.
It’s easy to lose sight of what God believes to be true about each and every one of us.
I want you all to know that every part of you, every single part of you, is valued and has meaning and purpose. Things that are visible or things that are hidden in your heart are all unique and special to you. Those things that cause you to look at the world differently, that cause you to have compassion and love, that cause you to see things in a different light, they all make up you and that’s exactly what God intended.
You see, while we as a society spend so much time placing labels on one another, God is busy calling each and every one of us His. Calling each and every one of us worthy, loved, and valued.
The body is made up of many parts; each part playing a specific role that makes the body function properly.
Think about the relationships that you have. The friends, family, acquaintances that you see regularly. Those people are shaping you and sometimes you don’t even know it.
There are people who look at you and instantly make judgments about who you are and what you stand for, without even knowing your name. They judge you because of who you are. Things that are a part of you that you can do absolutely nothing about.
With a world so full of judgments, people are desperately looking for a place to call home. A place to be safe. A place to call a family. People search until they find that place to belong, they search until their hearts are satisfied and their lives feel safe and at home.
What if we started loving instead of judging?
What if we started serving instead of shutting our doors?
What if we chose to do good rather than join the noisy crowd?
The church would be where people come first. A place where they feel safe and valued and nurtured, without having to pretend.
My friends, that is our job.
It’s our job to knock down walls, break chains and roll away the barriers. It’s not solely the pastor’s job. It’s a job for the whole body of Christ.
We have parts that are missing. Eyes that see better than ours, hands that serve in a different way, feet that are willing and ready to be on mission wherever God leads them. But before they even darken the doorways of our churches, we have to stop judging, stop hating, stop building walls.
We have to choose to love, we have to choose to stop labeling, we have to choose that love is greater than hate, every single day.
Let’s take that one step further.
We are the body of Christ. A family of believers committed to doing good in a world that is sometimes so incredibly dark and scary.
We are the body of Christ and we must stop with the labels. Stop with the groupings, stop with the “us vs them” mentality.
My friends, Jesus came so that you and I and our friends in Ferguson, Orlando, Dallas, Portland and Chicago can have the same freedom in Christ, knowing that each of us are perfect just the way we are.
We are claimed and owned by the God of today, tomorrow, and forever.
I know that your hearts and minds have wandered. Wandered to a place that has caused you to hear the labels that you are called daily. They are ringing in your ears.
I hear them screaming in my head. I hear them closing me off, turning me away and making me want to run.
But my friends, there is a greater label that I want to put on. It’s a label that claims me and allows me to be free. A label that allows me to love and serve and sing and worship in whatever way I see fit.
It’s a label that people all around the world long to hear.
My friends, Jesus looks at each and every one of us and calls us enough. We are enough because when Jesus hung on that cross, he uttered the words, it is finished.
If the labels the world places on you are weighing on your heart, know that you have been redeemed and forgiven. You have been called worthy and enough.
Spend time searching your heart for the words that Christ calls you. Words that are uplifting, loving, and encouraging.
My dear brother and sisters in Christ, you are not your label. You are a valued part of the body of Christ.