July 29, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14.
…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. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. - 1 Corinthians 12:25b-27.
Many of us have been praying for the nine miners who were trapped 240 feet down in the Quecreek Mine of western Pennsylvania. They were trapped for 77-hours in a cold, flooded and cramped mineshaft. One of the miners, Dennis Hall said, “The scary part was watching the water rise and knowing that you don’t have a way out.” What joy to hear that they were still alive! What joy to see them all brought out of the mine safely! If only every disaster could end with such victory!
How did these men survive? They survived in large part because they decided that they would “live or die as a group.” Not only did they decide that and say that with words, they actually tied themselves together. They worked hard to encourage each other and to keep anyone from going into hypothermia. Blaine Mayhugh said they were “snuggling each other, laying up against each other, sitting back-to-back to each other, anything to produce body heat.” When they began to be pulled one-by-one back to the surface the man who was believed to be in the worst shape physically because of his experiencing chest pains was allowed to go first.
What a wonderful picture of how we should be as the church, the body of Christ! We too are tied together, not with an actual rope but by the Holy Spirit, who dwells within each believer. We have all been baptized into the same body, by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). We too should have the mindset that says we will “live or die as a group.” We are all members of the same body and we should work hard to encourage each other (Hebrews 10:24). When someone is hurting, they should be given the attention that is needed to encourage them. When one member grows cold, we should all be active in surrounding them with prayer, love, and actions to bring them to the point of being once again on fire for their Lord.
The fact is that we Christians are all tied together and the actions of one member affect all the other members. If one is hurting, we should hurt as well. If one is withdrawn and cold, we should not rest until they are restored. We too can have victory and overcome through the power of God whatever life sends our way through our love for one another. And “by this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).”