1 Corinthians 3:9a and 12:12, “For we are laborers together with God … For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ”
Brother Hammer served as the chairman. The other members of the tool belt informed him that he must leave, because he was too noisy. But brother Hammer said, “If I have to leave this carpenter’s shop, then brother Gimlet must go too. He’s insignificant and makes a very small impression.” (A gimlet is a small tool with a screw point, grooved shank, and a cross handles for boring holes). Little brother Gimlet arose and said, “All right, but brother Screwdriver must go also. You have to turn him around and around to get anywhere with him.” Brother Screwdriver turned to the other tools in the belt and said, “If you wish, I will go, but brother Plane must leave too. All of his work is on the surface; there’s no depth to what he does.”
To this brother Plane leveled his terse reply, “Well, then, brother Saw will have to depart too. The changes he proposes always cut too deep.” Brother Saw complained, saying, “Brother Ruler will have to withdraw if I leave, for he’s always measuring other folks as though he were the only one who is right.” Brother Ruler then surveyed the group and said, “Brother Sandpaper doesn’t belong here either. He’s rougher than he ought to be, and is always rubbing people the wrong way.”
In the midst of the discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He had come to perform his day’s work. He put on His tool belt and went to the workbench to make a pulpit. He employed the ruler, the saw, the plane, the hammer, the gimlet, the screwdriver, the sandpaper, and all the other tools. When the day’s work was over, the pulpit was finished, and the carpenter went home. All the accusations against each of these tools were absolutely true, yet the carpenter used every one of them. No matter which tool He uses, no other tool could have done the work better.
During a rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, the renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini offered some constructive criticism to the featured soloist. She was too proud to accept his help, however, and expressed her resentment by exclaiming in anger, “I am the star of this performance!” Toscanini responded wisely and firmly, “Madame, in this performance there are no stars.” My brethren, the maestro had made a strong point. The soloists, the members of the chorus, and the orchestra all had to work together in harmony or there could be no beautiful music.
My brethren, as I illustrated above, this is also true of the church. In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he likened the parts of our physical body to individuals in the church, the body of Christ. All of us as believers have our own unique traits and individual duties (such as the tools of the carpenter), but taken together we comprise one body. We must therefore recognize how much we need one another.
Paul wrote, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:21). The Lord isn’t looking for soloists who want to be stars; He’s looking for workers who are willing to be servants. Simply put God’s work takes teamwork and we are all “tools” in Jesus’ tool box. Each of us has a purpose, ability, and a most important task to perform.
The church works best when we see ourselves as participants, not spectators.