Read: 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 NRSV
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect, whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
The human body is amazing. Did you know that our moods and decisions are affected by bacteria in our gut? That poor dental hygiene can lead to heart trouble? The medulla oblongata keeps our heart beating, our lungs expanding, and all of our organs running without our being aware of it? Somehow, a collection of identical cells specialize into bones, brain tissue, skin, eyelashes, and all of the perfect assortment of elements that give us breath, hunger, curiosity, and a soul. And yet, we also know that the body breaks down. We feel weak and dizzy when our cells dehydrate. We get nauseous when our liver attempts to filter too much alcohol. Some people are born with chemical imbalances or deficiencies. Paul continues his analogy of the Church to the body in order to emphasize the need for mutual care and joy. When one member of the body suffers, the rest of the body frantically seeks to end the suffering. A cut on the arm sends pain signals to the brain through the network of nerves, blood begins to clot and dry to seal the wound. Skin cells stitch themselves over the cut not only to save the arm but to stop the infection from spreading to the rest of the body.
Our spiritual gifts are for the glory of God, but they can and should also be used for the care of one another, especially for those who are the most vulnerable. When we trip and fall, our hands shoot out instinctively to protect the head. Those of us who have been blessed with mental strength, emotional wellness, strong relationships, financial security, freedom, strength, time, wisdom, and patience must reach out to protect those who need one or all of those blessings. The pain of the least, last, and lost should shock us in the same way as stubbing our pinky toe.