My wife had heart valve replacement surgery in January of 2011 and during that time I spent a lot of time thinking about the heart and heart valves in particular.
The heart is an amazing device. It will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during your lifetime. And beats up to 100,000 times each day moving about 2000 gallons of blood during that time. And it does all this work while still being a very small package. It only weighs about 11 oz. It contains 4 valves that regulate the flow of blood through your body and keep that blood flowing in only one direction. It’s one of these valves that we’ve been most concerned with lately.
The area of a healthy valve is about 2 square centimeters. That’s pretty small. Less than the size of a postage stamp. When something is wrong with this valve, symptoms can be anything from frequent migraines to bronchitis-like symptoms. Shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.
It’s amazing that this one small member can have such a large and adverse effect on the entire body.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 12. We’ll begin reading in verse 12:
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 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 parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 26
God designed the human body and here, he uses that design as an example of the body of Christ. He tells us that we were all made for different purposes, but that each purpose is important to the body as a whole. That we shouldn’t be jealous of another member for what we can’t do and they can, but rejoice in the fact that together we complete each other and are more valuable than if we were alone. We can’t all be a “Paul” or a “Peter” or a “Matthew”. And we shouldn’t want to be. God made a heart valve to be a heart valve. And God made each of us to be unique and to bring something unique to body.
He reminds us that we function as one body. That one small valve suffering can cause suffering through out the entire body. And when that valve is repaired, the entire body is better for it. It’s the same way with Christ’s body. When one member hurts, we suffer with them and when one member is happy, all the other rejoice along with them.
This is closer than family. In Christ’s body, we have a togetherness that just can’t be experienced anywhere else. I know that I and my family are blessed to be part of that body and I hope that each member of Christ’s body feels that way as well.
If you aren’t a member of that body, I plead with you, Christ pleads with you, not to go one more minute alone. The best thing about the body of Christ is that there is always room for one more member. All you have to do is turn away from sin, confess the precious name of Jesus, and be buried with Him in baptism. When you do those things, God adds you to His church, the body, and you can begin your new life as a member of that body and you get to share in that closeness that comes from nothing else.
Maybe you are you are a member of that body, but you haven’t been functioning like you should. Now is the time to change that. There is no hurt that God can’t fix. No wound he can’t heal. He is the Great Physician and he can take care of it.
“Humble youselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7-8
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
If you need help understanding what you must do to become a member of Christ’s body, please contact me through this blog or contact an elder or minister of your local church of Christ.