For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function . . . –Romans 12:4
Contextually, it is hard separate verse 4 and verse 5, but on a word document, it is pretty easy—see I just did it!
But even separated thusly, this is a wonderful verse that we could explore in many ways. The way I think that is most beneficial in this form is in addressing the Christian culture disease that is comparison.
In modern Western Christianity we have built up our churches like corporate structures, and hence we have designated some roles as more meaningful, important, and necessary than others. Atop this hierarchy sits ‘teaching’ and other leadership tasks, and so our young people grow up striving—often against their own unique giftings—for this and this alone. As adults we grow frustrated and rebel when we are forced out of the spotlight, as if God Himself fawns over church leaders like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.
But his is not how things are. We are a body of people, talented in nuanced ways to accomplish the work of the Church. If your church has a hundred people and all of them are teachers, it is hard to fathom that place thriving due to all the things it lacks. Also, if you are called to be hospitable, that is not a thing you are supposed to do for a season, grow out of, and then take a leadership position—no, if you are called to be hospitable, that is a high calling and one you are supposed to do!
A better illustration might be my marriage. I was meeting with someone today on marriage and the thought came to me how wonderfully fortunate I am that my wife and I are wired so differently. I’m a physical being and she is an emotional one. If my wife were just like me we’d be eating without plates and keeping our clothes on the floor. We’d be fixated on sex all the time, and would get little done. If I were just like my wife, we’d have our next seven years planned out to the day, and we’d probably have ulcers when our plans were toppled by the unforeseen. Our different gifts and sensibilities make us both better, and our individual strengths lift up the other’s weaknesses.
And so it is with the Body of Christ, with His people. We shouldn’t be comparing gifts in an envious way. We shouldn’t be vainly attempting to progress out of our own unique gifts and talents. We should be using our gifts to glorify God, and relying on the gifts of one another to accomplish great things.
We do not have the same function, but is our different functions that build unity, purpose, and utility to the pursuits of our lives.