What I’m Reading Today: 1 Corinthians 11 & 12
The passage from 1 Corinthians I read this morning contains a chapter that is probably my favorite chapter in the entire Bible – 1 Corinthians 12. I have loved that chapter for years because it lays out a beautiful image of what we people of faith are called to be: the body of Christ. It also suggests wonderful guidelines for how we should live together as well.
While I love the vision Paul lays out for us, I’ve realized I’ve lived into a rather unhealthy understanding of those words in the past. I tended to miss Paul’s foundational point that we are all important parts of a larger whole. Instead, I created a hierarchy of body parts and saw myself (particularly in my role as pastor) as being one of those super important parts without whom the body couldn’t function: a part like, say, the heart.
That thinking got me into a dangerous headspace. It made me think that the body couldn’t function without me. I would go weeks at a time, for instance, without taking any time off because – I thought – the group simply couldn’t function without me. As a result, I frequently because spiritually, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.
In the past year, I have taken important steps to move away from that co-dependent line of thinking. The last two weeks however – as I have worked straight through without any time off – I’ve realized that I have begun to fall back into my old way of being. I’m nearly out of fuel in my gas tank. And so tonight, I’m forcing myself to make time for myself and my family (in order to experience a one-time event) after completely neglecting both for the past two weeks. The decision isn’t easy. But it’s an important opportunity for me to remember that the health and functioning of the body of Christ is much greater than me.
So how well do you embrace the notion of being part of something larger than yourself? Does that vision excite you and draw you deeper into spiritual community; or does it scare you and threaten the illusion that you are a completely self-contained entity?
Til next time…