Do you recognize the items in the picture above? If so then you either have children or you were once a child yourself. If I have you baffled then you must have skipped childhood altogether and gone straight to adulthood. Millions of children have used these little plastic shapes to entertain themselves for hours while at the same time developing motor skills and coordination. As a side note, the picture may be familiar to many of you, but do you know what company produces this popular toddler toy?
I’m not sure why I thought about this particular toy today but I was reminded of watching numerous children over the years play with the shapes trying to fit them into the proper holes. (I also remember pulling on the yellow handles to spread the red and blue sections apart to get the shapes out, time and time again.) Each one of these shapes is different from the rest but each one has its own special slot made just for it to fit into.
This toy reminds me of our church today. The church is made up of many different individuals, each one a little bit different from the others. But each member of God’s family has its own special place within the church. Each individual has their own slot, much like this children’s toy. With this child’s toy each shape is fitted into the slot until the ball is full of the individual pieces. In our churches today, each individual brings their own gifts and abilities when combined with the gifts and abilities of the other members, the church becomes complete.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:4–14 (NIV)
Each of us are different, each of us are unique; together we make up the body. The different parts fitting together to form one body.
Imagine the Tupperware Shape-O® Toy containing nothing but circles. It just wouldn’t be the same. Children would be attracted for only a short period of time before tossing it across the floor. The toy would fail to entertain. It would fail to teach. It would fail at the purpose for which it is created.
Imagine the church if all of the body parts were the same. It would fail in the same manner as the toy. It would fail at the purpose for which it was created. Thankfully, God saw the need to give us different gifts and different abilities. It is up to us to use those gifts and abilities to complete the body.
Did you have a Tupperware Shape-O® Toy when you were a toddler? Did your children?