Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Whole Is No Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

"And if one member suffers, all the parts [share] the suffering; if one member is honored all the members [share in] the enjoyment of it."
1 Corinthians 12:26 (Amplified Bible)

There is a saying that goes something like, "The whole is greater (or more) than the sum of its parts".  The idea is that things working together produce or become something greater than what they are individually.  This saying expresses an important truth that we also see in the Bible, but there is something else we can see here if we look at this phrase a little bit differently. The whole is no greater than the sum of its parts when every part of that whole is not functioning properly.

Usually the whole cannot rise above the sum of the parts involved.  In other words, you can have a very healthy and strong group that is restricted from its fullest potential by one or more weak member. There may be a company that is excelling in most of what it does but the parts that are not excelling are hindering the whole from moving forward.  A church may have several areas that are working well but if there are some areas that are weak and struggling it will have an effect on the whole church.  As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:26 when one part of the body is suffering the whole body is affected.  The Body of Christ and organizations are made up of many parts; just think, what could happen if every part was doing well in their particular area?
Every Christian will either be contributing to the heath and stability of their local church, and the overall Body of Christ, or they will be hindering it.  Ephesians 4:16 says that every part of the body has something to give.  But what if some parts of the body or an organization did not fully give what they could, would that body, church, or organization do everything that it could or should do?  We need to take an honest look at ourselves and ask if we are being a weak or a strong part of whatever we might be involved in.  This applies especially to the Body of Christ and our local church but also in our families, where we work and whatever else we might be involved in.  Let's all function at our full capacity and make the whole strong rather than be the weak part that holds the body back from achieving its fullest potential.

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