In this verse the Apostle declares his central principle about unity and diversity…despite the diversity of our body parts; they form one body. When the diverse parts of the body work together, the body is able to accomplish its tasks and fulfill its mission. On the other hand, when the parts of a body are divided, even the simplest of tasks will be difficult if not impossible.
For more than one hundred years, the Chinese church body in all its diverse forms has not worked together as one unit. Instead, the various parts of our body have gone their own way, have done their own thing, and have ignored one another. The fruit of that failure was made clear in the 2010 Spring Unity in Diversity Conference. In that conference Pastor Stanley reported on “The State of the Chinese Church in Our Region.”
The statistics brought out in his presentation were both shocking and depressing. The statistics revealed that our churches, whether they are Overseas Born Chinese, American Born Chinese, or some combination of both, are in trouble. One reason our churches are in trouble is because we have all chosen to work separately and independently of one another for far too long.
The vast majority of the churches in our region are small. The resources available to most of our churches are limited. As a result, what we can do to advance God's work and grow his kingdom is limited. And they will remain limited unless and until we band together and work together.
For such a thing to happen, many obstacles must be overcome: theological differences, denominational differences, geographical differences, personality differences, cultural differences to name just a few. While difficult, it is not impossible. Why? It is not impossible because we all claim to serve the same master. And if that is, in fact, true then God has given us our diversity to strengthen and bolster our work and efforts, not weaken it. Diversity gives us more options, greater opportunities, and broader possibilities....if we can find it within ourselves to set aside our own agendas and focus solely on God's agenda.
I believe the Apostle Paul in this chapter has told us what you and I need to do to bear fruit; we need to work together as one unit, for the sake of the body, for the sake of the church, for the sake of the kingdom.