“For the body is not one member, but many, If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?” (I Corinthians 12:14-17).
Evangelist Billy Graham was a former Bob Jones University student. He joined the National Council of Churches to the objections of Dr. Bob Jones Sr. Someone said to Dr. Bob Jones Sr., “Evangelist Billy Graham is bearing fruit” to which Dr. Jones Sr. replied, “He is bearing fruit but ruining the orchard”.
The reason for forty-nine years of preaching in which I did not preach many evangelistic messages is because I constantly labored to keep the orchard in good shape. I believe with all of my heart I if I could keep the orchard healthy the fruit will naturally fall off of the trees and the next generation will have a healthy orchard also!
This article is meant to be preventative! Please give me a hearing! We see in the Scripture, “If the whole body were an eye where is the hearing?”
The hand does not say to the foot I have not need of thee. My hand does not look at all like my nose, though both are very attractive, but neither looks like the other. My foot does not look like my ear. The truth is not many of the parts of the body are alike, but every part is important.
The reason God led Paul to pen this is because at the church of Corinth there was a divided church. This is not a teaching of an invisible universal church, for there is not such thing in the word of God, until the Rapture occurs and the church becomes visible. He is speaking to a local church in Corinth.
Some were followers of the Apostle Paul who was a quiet Bible student kind of a teacher type! He said when I speak you say my speech is contemptible.
People would say that Paul would never cut it as a preacher for his has a squeaky voice. He was not very good looking. He was a short man, had an eye disease making it hard for him to see, his bodily presence profited little, but oh, how he could teach and expound the Scriptures.
Then, there was someone else who had preached at the church in Corinth and his name was Apollos. He was not a very deep Bible student but he was an orator. Oh, how suave he was! He had an ability to converse and communicate like none other. He was very articulate!
Then there was a third person there that was not very suave and he was not the Bible teacher the Apostle Paul was. His name was Peter. Wow, what a great pulpiteer. He could beat the pulpit and in a dynamic way keep the attention of the congregation. He was loud, impetuous and a bombastic type of a preacher.
Some in the church at Corinth said, “We don’t care for that little runt of a man who squeaks when he speaks.” Some said, “You give us that charming eloquent Apollos for he certainly has a way about him. He has a very palatable way.
On the other hand there was another group that said, “No! I don’t like that suave smooth Apollos! I don’t care for that little runt of a man with a squeaky voice with those bug eyes named Paul. You give me that hard, loud, pulpit pounding, foot stompin’, spittin’, and foamin’ at the mouth man named Peter.”
THE NEED FOR ALL THREE
God leads the Apostle Paul to write to the church at Corinth to let them know they need all three. They need the depth of a little, short, runt of a man with bug eyes. God is saying to this church you need all three. The church at Corinth needs all three and all three need the church at Corinth!
Paul was saying to them, “You need my Bible teaching even though I’m not as charismatic as Apollos. I do not have the bombastic delivery of an Apostle Peter nor do I have the eloquence of an Apollos but you need all of us!”
Paul likens the church at Corinth to that of a body and he says the hand is as needed as the foot. If all the body were a hand then where would the hearing come from and where would the speaking come from and where would the seeing come? God is clearly teaching all of us that all of us are needed in the local church.
- For every asset there is a liability
- For every liability there is an asset
- Every person possesses both assets and liabilities
Take the Apostle Peter as an example. On one side of this man was his dynamic, foot stomping, pulpit pounding, and stedfastness was an asset and it was the good side of him. On the other side the liability side of the balance sheet you have a man who was always talking when he should have been listening. He was broadcasting when he should have been tuning in! Now, that is the other side, which is his liability. The truth is you cannot have one without the other.
Take Apollos! The liability side of Apollos was he did not have the convictions that the Apostle Peter possessed or the depth of the Apostle Paul.
Take the Apostle Paul! The liability side of Paul was he did not have the eloquence of Apollos or the bombastic delivery of an Apostle Peter. That was the liability side of Paul!
ALL OF US HAVE ASSETS AND LIABILITIES
Occasionally I look at myself and I see some things that I do not like. So, I decide to operate on myself! I roll myself into the operating room and I take the surgeons’ knife and I cut myself open with an incision. I start to take out the thing that I do not like. All of a sudden it dawns on me that the very thing I do not like about myself is attached to something else.
The thing I wish I did not have is attached to something that I do like. The thing that I think I do not need is attached to something that I do need.
I find that if I cut out my stubbornness I may cut out my convictions. As a result, I sew myself back up and leave in that which I do not want because it’s attached to something I do want and need.
The same is true of all of us! If I could have slowed down the prayers of the late Dr. Charles Zinn before I preached while pastoring the Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, I wouldn’t. There were times I wish he had slowed down his prayers. Thus, I was willing to put up with the liability side of a Dr. Zinn in order to have the assets of a Dr. Zinn. If I were to take away Dr. Zinn’s liabilities our church would not have had the wonderful assets of a Dr. Zinn.
One of the best servants on our staff at LBT of Longview, Texas, was Dr. Paul Duckett Jr. If I could have caused Dr. Duckett to give instruction and explain things in a few brief sentences instead of an hour dissertation I would not have done it.
Why, because our dear church would have missed the asset of the greatest servant with intellect I have ever known. All of us would have missed the assets that are attached to his liabilities. Dr. Duckett was one of the most thorough individuals I have ever met.
I gladly took the fast prayers before I preached and the hour dissertation in order to have the assets these two men brought to our staff. By the way, one time I made a joke about Dr. Zinn’s fast prayers and his response to me was, “I wasn’t praying to you!” Gotta love it!
Dr. Ed Tutton was on our staff for several years! If I could have gotten the dear Doctor to stand up on his platform chair and wave his Bible, holler amen, and run around the platform praising God I wouldn’t have done it! We needed the calm, cool, collected academic genius on our staff. Mr. unflappable!
Dr. Kevin Connor was our Bus Director for many years and did an exceptional job. I am not sure what his IQ is but I would not be surprised if it did not approach or exceed 150. If I could have added to that IQ a memory I would not have done it because it would have missed the joy of his unique personality.
Dr. Bob Bowen was an assistant Pastor on our staff for couple of decades at LBT. If I could have calmed him down I wouldn’t have done it. If I could cause Dr. Bowen to learn the word “tact” I wouldn’t do it, for with every liability there is an attached asset. If you remove the liability you will also remove that attached asset.
Our financial secretary Mrs. Diana Faye Ayres was strong willed in nature. If I could have taken that and given it to a meek Mrs. Cheryl Zinn and give the meekness of a Mrs. Zinn to a Mrs. Ayres I wouldn’t do it! Why, because in doing so I would also be taking away the attached assets that make these ladies great!
Do you see the picture? Every one has two sides! They have the asset side that has a corresponding liability also! That is what balances out a staff, a church, or a family.
A courageous Moses had a hot temper. A strong Barnabas was stubborn. A zealous Apostle Peter was impetuous. A steady Andrew is dull. A beloved John is selfish. An Abraham who up and moved from the Ur of the Chaldees will also up and move from Canaan to go down to Egypt.
Can you see it? All of the people who have strengths have weaknesses and there is an opposite negative to every positive! There is a liability to every asset.
The thing that made Longview Baptist Temple great was the fact we accepted the inevitable negatives of each other and the positive things about each other.
God placed us together strategically as a church body made up of individuals with their own individual assets and attached liabilities. Each member had their own negatives and corresponding positives and each with their own job to perform just as as the body has individual parts with unique functions.
THIS SHOULD NOT BE A SHOCK TO US
Do not run off because you discover a liability; it was there all the time. Oh, you love the asset and despise the liability, but when you run form the liability you are also running from the assets. When you run to the assets you are also running to the attached liability.
A Paul burdened for his people will take a Jewish vow to attempt to win them to Christ. An asset with a liability! You will have an Aaron who is a great follower and becomes a terrible leader while Moses is on Mount Sinai and the people lead Aaron into idolatry!
You will find a strong John Calvin cannot get along with a strong Martin Luther, a strong John R. Rice cannot get along with a strong J. Frank Norris, a strong John Wesley cannot get along with a strong George Whitfield, a strong G. B. Vick cannot get along with a J. Frank Norris, and a strong Bob Jones Jr. cannot get along with a strong John R. Rice.
You will find an Apostle Paul cannot get along with a strong Barnabas, a strong Apostle Peter cannot get along with a strong Apostle Paul, an eloquent Apollos cannot get along with Peter and Paul, and a strong Abraham cannot get along with a strong Lot.
I am simply stating some of us have liabilities that are unseen because of the assets and some of us have assets that are unseen because of the liabilities but both exist. You cannot do surgery to remove one without the attached opposite being removed also.
You cannot have a strong leader who has a passive peaceful demeanor. You will not get a man to stay beside you at the hospital all night long who is an Apostle Peter.
The truth is God’s people need an impetuous preacher, a fast prayer, a man who turns a simple instruction into a dissertation, a calm academic genius, a strong willed bookkeeper, a meek secretary, a gruff outspoken man, a forgetful genius.
Why, because we need each other and we ought not expect each other to be like each other.
What we desire is the positive without the negative or the asset without the liability. We want an enthusiastic preacher who whispers while he preaches. We want Sunday school bus riders with polish. We want a husband who is a quiet extrovert. We want retarded intellectualism. We want dull charisma. We want exciting boredom.
We want calm enthusiasm. We want a courageous coward. We want a baby already potty trained. We want passive aggression. We want quiet zeal. We want a muscular weakling. We want an aggressive reluctant. We want a strong leader run by a board. We want a seventy-two degree white Christmas.
What we are saying is we can’t wait in the wintertime for it to be summer so we can have something different to complain about.
Paul is saying to the people at the church of Corinth that Apollos has some things that are attractive, but with that must come the unattractive. So, followers of Peter and Paul are supposed to like Apollos too.
Please understand this you cannot change people! You can only change yourself and the truth is most people never do change! The dumbest thing a person can do is leave the spouse you could not change for another spouse who will not change! This is the dumbest thing a husband, wife, pastor, church member, or staff member can do.
The truth is followers of Apollos need Peter and Paul (and Mary! Ha!) We need all of us who will not change to help the rest of us decide to change ourselves.
You will not get the Apostle Peter without getting a man who talks too much. You will not get the Apostle Paul without getting a man who has a squeaky voice. You will not get an Apollos without getting a man who lacks depth.
- This is true concerning churches
- This is true concerning schools
- This is true concerning colleges
- This is true concerning homes
- This is true concerning children
Children are potential and that is all they are! They are not Billy Sunday, or a Susanna Wesley! Billy Sunday was not Billy Sunday when he was a young Billy Sunday. Susanna Wesley was not Susanna Wesley when she was young. Jack Hyles was not Jack Hyles when he was young. John Rice was not John Rice when he was young.
DIRECTION IS ESSENTIAL
The most important thing is found in the direction folks are going. Be willing to put up with the negatives in order to enjoy the positives as long as they are going in the right direction.
The negatives of a person headed for the wrong destination is danger. You can put up with the negatives and enjoy the positives if they are going the same way. Keep an eye out for where they are headed more than the assets and the liabilities.