By Not Known
Would you use a saloon car to transport sand? Especially if it is your very own saloon car? That’s what my Christian contractor friend was saying every time he put across his favourite poser in impeccable Singlish, “Would you use a Merz to carry sand?” (Or if you prefer, in the place of your favourite car, read Porsche, Ferrari or even BMW could do as well.)
The argument is that you won’t want to use your saloon car to do a lowly job like transporting sand which any old half-broken-down lorry can do. Your lovely saloon car is not made for the job. And just think of the cleaning up after the messy transportation job has been done! The right and ideal thing of course, is that since “God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be….”, every one of us should be doing our part as God intends.
Yet this is not what we often see in the church. Why? “I have no time.” “Someone else can do it.” “I am not gifted for the job.” Perhaps these are what that lie on the surface. The real reasons: “The job is lowly.” “It is messy.” “No one will take notice of what I have done.” “I am cut for better things.”
We tend to forget 1 Corinthians 12:7 set in the midst of our talk on spiritual gifts, that they are “given for the common good” so that the body as a whole may benefit. If we notice the focus, it is on the whole and not on the individualistic ‘I’.
What would happen if no transportation is available to carry sand and that the job needs to be done? Would some Merzs volunteer? Or we prefer to argue till the cows come home that it is not our job? Or we go into long tirades we are Merzs and not Protons?
Imagine the scenario at the Last Supper if our Lord had thought it too lowly and messy for Him to wash feet? He could have in its place given us a far better exposition on spiritual gifts using 1 Corinthians 12 than anyone of us who are bent on evading what would be our calling and responsibility as parts of Christ’s body. Instead, our Lord chose to wash the disciples’ feet like the lowest of slaves and urged us to follow His example (John 13:13-17).
And 1 Corinthians 13 follows chapter 12 with the opening verse: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” It would be well if we indeed lack spiritual gifts; but if what we lack truly is love, then we need to turn again to our Lord.