21 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!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinthians 12:21-26, NIV)
Today at my work much is made of “diversity”. Sometimes I am amazed that people actually need to be told that to accomplish great things you need a variety of people, each with different skills and abilities. That projects need more than a room full of “experts”. That the arms and legs of an organization are the people that actually do the work. That you have to be intentional in honoring people that don’t always get recognized because their work is not out in the open. That one person will never have all the answers, and sometimes you need a team of people bringing different ideas to develop really great things. That teams need to work together and suffer together as well as rejoice together. Of course, all of these ideas are thought to be very progressive, very modern.
I wonder how many know that Paul taught them as Christian values 2,000 years ago? I’ll bet this was pretty radical teaching in his day. I’ll also bet it really bothered the religious elite. They understood that everyone was different. But everyone was important, and they all needed each other? That the scholars and blacksmiths should have equal concern for each other?
Then at the end of the chapter we realize that Paul was setting the stage for the famous “love” chapter. These ideas are certainly needed to set up the frame of mind needed to begin to understand the type of love Paul is about to describe. More radical ideas to follow!