20 “But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21And 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.” 22No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.”
Beginning at verse 20, we have a transition from those who feel inferior in their gifts to those who feel superior (12:20-26).
“But now” indicates that superiority and autonomy was a reality in the Corinthian church.
indeed there are many members, yet one body.
As the human body is one organism, so is the church, an integrated organism of many parts mutually dependent.
And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”;
Now we come to those people with gifts that they deem superior to other gifts. The eye feels superior to the hand. He suffers from a superiority complex. The idea that we can get along without other believers is a fantasy of the ego.
We have the phrase “I have no need of you” twice in this verse, implying that the Corinthians felt they did not need other people in ministry. They had the Lone Ranger complex. This sense of independence is not healthy in the body of Christ. The eye cannot get along without the hand. The moment the eye thinks so, then an ash flies in the eye, and it cries out to the hand to wipe the fleck away. “Oh, hand, do something quickly. Get that ash out of my eye.” The hand responds, “What did you say to me just a few minutes ago? Didn’t you say, ‘I have no need of you’?”
nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
The head is another member that feels superior to the feet. Feet are indispensable to the head. If the head wants to go to the next room, he must call upon the feet to transport him there. About the time the head says to the feet, “I have no need of you,” he then wants to go to the next room. So the feet say, “Well, if you want to go into the other room, go by yourself!” The head has no means of locomotion without the feet.
No, much rather,
This is a strong adversative. The polar opposite to the idea that a gift is superior to so-called inferior gifts is the truth that the “weaker” gifts are necessary.
those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
No one is indispensable in ministry. We all need each other. Things are not always what they appear to be. Unobtrusive things are necessary. I have never seen my kidneys, but they are necessary. They are not as big or as visible as my arm, but they are necessary.
Interdependence rather than independence is God’s norm for how the church functions.
Autonomy in ministry is a major problem today. It is a common proclivity for people with superior giftedness to have a sense of self-sufficiency. Along with this is comes a tendency towards overestimating our own importance and undervaluing the contribution of others. It is easy to overestimate our importance. Individualism appeals to pride.