Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 10.4.21 – The first united Methodist church in Fort Worth


Today’s Bible:

Ephesians 4: 3-6 New revised standard version (NRSV)

3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the only hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in all.

Tim’s dedicated thinking for today

Time and time again the Bible speaks of unity. This passage in Ephesians describes this beautifully. Our calling as a follower of Jesus is to work for unity, not division. It’s hard work. Unity does not mean uniformity. We are not all the same and our differences should enrich our lives and make us stronger.

Paul’s image of the Church as the Body of Christ points to the meaning of unity. I invite you to meditate on Eugene Peterson’s translation and paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 12: 1-27 as you reflect on the power of diversity within unity:

What I want to talk about now are the different ways the Spirit of God works in our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and informed. Do you remember how you were when you didn’t know God, you led from one false god to another, you never knew what you were doing, you just did it because everyone else was doing it? It is different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to try to understand as best we can. For example, using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never make anyone say “Jesus damned!” Nor would anyone be inclined to say “Jesus is the Teacher!” without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

God’s various gifts are shared everywhere; but they all come from the Spirit of God. God’s various services are performed everywhere; but they all come from the Spirit of God. God’s various expressions of power are at work everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given to do something that shows who God is: Everyone gets involved, everyone benefits. The Spirit shares all kinds of things and all kinds of people! The variety is great:

wise advice

clear understanding

simple trust

healing of the sick

miraculous works

proclamation

distinguishing spirits

languages

language interpretation.

All of these gifts have a common origin, but they are shared one by one by the Spirit of God. He decides who gets what.

You can easily see how things like this work without looking beyond your own body. Your body has many parts – limbs, organs, cells – but no matter how many parts you can name, you are still one body. It is exactly the same with Christ. Through his only Spirit we have all said goodbye to our partial and part of life. Each of us independently called his own, but then we entered a large and integrated life in which he has the last word in everything. (We proclaimed this in word and deed when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and maintained at one source — his Spirit — where we all come to drink. The old labels we once identified with — labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free — are no longer useful. We need something bigger, more comprehensive.

I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. The body is not just one part blown into something huge. These are all different but similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I am not as elegant as the Hand, adorned with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body “, would that mean that it is so? If Ear said, “I am not as beautiful as the Eye, clear and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on my head, “do you want to remove it from your body? If the body is the whole eye, how could it hear? If the whole ear, how could it smell? As they are, we see that God carefully placed every part of the body where He wanted it.

But I also want you to think about how this prevents your significance from growing into your own importance. No matter how important you are, it is only because of what you are part of. A huge eye or a giant hand would not be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each of appropriate size and in its place. No part is important in itself. Can you imagine the eye saying to the hands, “Get lost; I don’t need you ”? Or, the Head says to Foot, “You are fired; your business has been gradually terminated ”? In fact, in practice it works in a different way – the “lower” part, the more basic and therefore necessary. For example, you can live without an eye, but not without a stomach. When it’s part of your own body, it makes you worry no the difference is whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give him dignity and honor as they are, without comparison. If nothing else, take care of the lower parts than the higher ones. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather digest your hair full of hair?

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our life together as a church: each part depends on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t do, the parts we see, and the parts we don’t see. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the injury and in the healing. If one part blooms, every other part goes into lushness.

You are the body of Christ – it is you! You must never forget this. Only when you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.



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