Have you ever wondered about the purpose of an armpit? As a scientist I am compelled to observe the world around me. I love to study and try to figure out how things work. As a Christian I believe by faith that God created everything for a purpose. So what about hairy, stinky armpits? Are they just plain gross, or do they have an important function? Apparently the hair in our armpits acts as a lubricant for the skin that rubs against each other. The armpits also contain apocrine glands, which produce the most nutrient-rich sweat that our body produces. Believe it or not, this particular sweat is packed with olfactory information and actually attracts mates. The body odor is derived from the bacteria in our armpits. So blame the B.O. on the bacteria, not the armpit.
As I was thinking about this information I couldn’t help but think about the Body of Christ. The Scriptures say that the Body of Christ is made up of many parts and that it is critical to the health of the Body that each part play it’s role. For instance the Word of God says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” (1 Corinthians 12:17, NIV). I think that all of us would agree that Paul’s argument makes perfect sense. What I have always found interesting is what he said later in the letter. “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are un-presentable are treated with special modesty.” (1 Corinthians 12:22-23, NIV)
If we belong to Jesus do we know what our roles are in the Body of Christ? Jesus is the head of the Body but what part are we supposed to be playing? It seems to me that everyone would be happy being an eye, an ear or a foot, but who wants to be the armpit? Doesn’t the world need peacemakers who labor to protect and remove friction between people? Doesn’t the Body of Christ need people who live in such a way that they attract the lost to the Savior? Are freshly shaved armpits, covered with man-made deodorant truly better than hairy armpits with God-given scent? I have been having some fun with these thoughts, but I do believe that there is a deep truth to be discovered here. If the Lord wants us to be an eye shouldn’t we study and help the Body see well? If the Lord wants us to be an ear shouldn’t we listen and help the Body hear well? If the Lord wants us to be an armpit shouldn’t we protect, and emit the aroma of Christ so that the Body will attract the missing parts that need to come home?