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I AM THE APPENDIX

In 1 Corinthians 12, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to compare the church with our physical bodies. Of course, this is not the only place where this comparison is made. A similar word picture is presented in Romans 12 as well. There are also those pas-sages where Christ is referred to as the head of the body (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18).

However, it is in 1 Corinthians 12 that we find actual parts of the human body compared to the body of Christ. In some instances only the part itself is named (foot, hand, eye). In one instance only the function is mentioned (smelling). The ear gets "double billing." It and its function are both mentioned (12:16-17).

It is interesting to me that the appendix is not mentioned anywhere in this discussion. No member of the body of Christ is depicted as saying, "I am the appendix." What makes this interesting is that there are those who today seem to be the appendix of the body of Christ. Not only do they seem to function this way, they seem content to do so. Consider the following similarities:

As far as I am able to determine, medical science has yet to find out any purpose for the appendix. Could not the same be said for some who at least profess to be Christians? Opportunities for service are provided and announced. Often an urgent plea is made for a particular work. Despite all of that, some seem to use a familiar hymn as their slogan: I Shall Not be Moved.

The appendix can be removed from the human body and the body can continue to function just as well without it. Each Christian would do well to ask himself/herself this question: "Other than the fact that I would not be counted as ‘present’ at a worship assembly, would the cause of Christ or my local church miss me if I was not around?"

Usually, we are not even aware of the appendix until it "flares up." Some members of the church are never heard from until and unless they have a complaint. Then, and only then, the rest of us hear plenty from them. Like the appendix, they can cause discomfort to the entire body. I don't believe this is what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He inspired Paul to write, "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it..." (1 Cor. 12:26).

In extreme cases, a diseased appendix can actually cause death. Many of us are aware of congregations that were at one time vibrant, sound, and growing. In the local community and even beyond their immediate area, they functioned as "...the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). In the language used to describe the seven churches being discussed in Revelation 2-3, they were also functioning as a candlestick or lamp stand. They made their communities and the world a better place as they illuminated an environment that is darkened by sin and error.

Sadly, we can now drive by the locations where these brothers and sisters once met to worship and find either an empty building or a vacant lot. Nobody is being born of the water and the Spirit there any longer (cf. In. 3:5). There are no little children singing Jesus Loves Me in those classrooms anymore. Nobody is enjoying the support and encouragement they used to receive as a part of this body.

What happened? In many cases the "autopsy" of a congregation will show that the trouble began when an "appendix" flared up and infected the entire body.

Take time to read I Corinthians 12. Then ask yourself the following question: "Am I the eye, the ear, the hand, the foot, the ear, the nose, or the appendix?"

—Jim Faughn