I cut the tip of my index finger slicing lemons the other day. It was
a deep cut, and naturally, it bled everywhere. I bandaged it up and
proceeded to go about my day, only to discover that the finger got in
the way for everything I tried to do. Even though it was a finger on my
non-dominant hand, I couldn't even wash my hands without worrying that
the cut would get wet, and typing on the computer was nearly impossible.
Paul tells us that as Christians, we are one body:
"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." (1 Cor 12:12-14)
What happens when one of our "body parts" isn't working?
As I continued to try and type, my injured forefinger with its bandage kept hitting all of the wrong keys. What a mess! It was amazing to me how much I unknowingly relied on that non-dominant finger.
Paul has some interesting things to say about what happens when body parts aren't functioning properly: "Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 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? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." (1 Cor. 12:15-19)
As I continued to type, I noticed that my other fingers began to take over the job of the injured finger. No, I wasn't typing as quickly as before, but the job was being completed. I also realized that it was my arms and hands, and even my other fingers, that nurtured the cut. They cleaned it out, put in disinfectant, and bandaged it up, caring for it diligently until the day came that it was healed.
What was happening there? The other parts of my body were taking over, doing whatever they could to help that finger to heal, and in the meantime, compensating for it until such time that it could pull its own weight.
Isn't that what God calls us to do in the body of Christ? When one of our members is hurt, be it physically, mentally, spiritually or emotionally, we all suffer. We will not be able to work together as we were designed to do. Our job, therefore, is to nurture that "body part", doing everything in our power to help them to heal. And in the meantime, we are to band together and help to do the job of the "body part" that is out of commission, compensating for him or her until such a time that he or she can return to pull their own weight.
But wait. I understand that we must do this for our pastors and leaders; but what about for the church janitor? The volunteer in the children's program? And what about that person who comes only once in a while and seemingly does nothing for the church body?
Let's remember that God is no respecter of persons (Rom 2:11). God has put the body together, "...giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." (1 Cor 12:24b-26)
It doesn't matter how "important" or "unimportant" we see our fellow members of the body of Christ to be. If any part suffers in any way, the Bible is clear: Every part suffers!
Let's remember this important lesson. Each part of Christ's church is important, and without that important part, the entire body of Christ suffers. Let's join together and help that hurting son of daughter of Christ. Let's build them up, encourage them, help them to heal, and while they are healing, let's band together and help pull their share of the load!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.