“...those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:22-26
The verse above have always been ones that I sort of understood, but yet have always wondered if I really comprehended the greater meaning hidden within them. The words seem at times when you read them a bit cryptic, like they contain a bigger truth that the obvious seems to dismiss. But, when I was reading through both the above verses this morning and the book of Esther I felt like the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder and gave me a new revelation to what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians.
I will let you read the excerpt from Esther that made the above verses so profound for me, then below I will just discuss a bit how I found the two separate passages complemented one another through this revelation:
“So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai. Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 'All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.' So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: 'Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?' Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 'Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!' So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.” Esther 4:9-17
If we look at the objects of discussion in 1 Corinthians 12 and align those objects with the key people of the Lord in the story from Esther 4, this is how I have come to see the associations:
Weaker, less/lacking honorable, unpresentable
The Jews in Shushan, Hathach, and Esther's maids
Honorable and presentable
Esther and Mordecai
On the outside, those who were weaker posed no threat to the plan which was to be carried out against the Jews. The Lord covered them from being put on the front lines that would risk their physical lives (at least for the time being). Their only job in the battle was to fast and pray for God to deliver them and to protect Esther. On the other hand, Mordecai needed to risk his association with Esther to get word to her, and Esther had to risk her life so her request could be considered by the king. These two, especially Esther, had to advance to the front line and throw themselves into the battle because that was the positions they were given. Esther's time had come and Mordecai was quick to point out that she had no where to hide in the plans that God was allowing to transpire – she had to act and be willing to suffer along with the rest of her people.
What a great parallel! God gives us each a place in His plan of redemption in this same way. Some members of the body of Christ are called to be behind the scenes and work in the less honor giving places of service or mere sacrificial offering. Others in the body are called to be messengers who carry the words and decrees of how God's Spirit is moving among His people to all areas of the body – top to bottom. And then there are those members of the body who are called to the front lines and who by the nature of their calling must be willing to risk their lives, boldly say what is true, and use the honorable and presentable places they have been given in this world with no regard for their status with men, but rather all regard to their status in the body and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
I do not know where your place is among the body of believers, but I do know that God has covered you appropriately for the work He is calling you to amongst the work of His people. Do not be discouraged in comparing yourself to another or in wanting the position of another person in the body. You have been called “for such a time as this” no matter where and when you have been called because God is the One who brings us all together, assigns our places, and uses each of us where we are best equipped and prepared to be used. May you be encouraged today to keep doing what you are called to do in the body for the advancement of the glory of the Lord.