I have a sore on my tongue. Yes, that’s probably TMI, but it’s true. In fact, I’ve had a sore on my tongue for about a month. It’s one of those obnoxious sores that just nags the devil out of you, and nothing you do to it really seems to help it. And it doesn’t really hurt. It’s just annoying. And it makes talking less fluid than I normally prefer it to be. People probably haven’t noticed because I’m good at hiding things, especially since I’ve had to be talking nonstop for the last month it feels like.
What amazes me is how something so small can cause so much irritation. Like a splinter. You can get a splinter in your finger or in your foot, and it can feel like a whole tree is lodged in there. And then it turns out that it’s just a teeny tiny microscopic shard, and you feel like the world’s biggest wuss. Or a speck in your eye? Gosh, there’s no pain like that. And most of the time it’s an eyelash. An eyelash! Yeah, that’s really dangerous.
But isn’t it amazing how one tiny problem with one tiny part of your body can cause the rest of your whole body to stop functioning the way it’s supposed to? I mean, your body still functions. But it’s really really difficult to focus on doing the things you’re supposed to be doing when you have an eyelash stabbing your cornea to death…or an elm lodged in your little toe…or a sore on your tongue.
The Body of Christ (that is to say, the Church) is the same way.
Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 12:27.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
You see, there are two definitions of church. A church can be a building, yes, and that’s the general definition I think most people apply. But the Church (capital C) refers to those people who have chosen to follow Christ. The Church, our fellow brothers and sisters in faith around the world, is more than a building–it’s a family. And the Bible calls it a Body. The Church has been compared to the Body of Christ, with each part having a specific purpose, meaning that each member of the Church has a reason for existing.
Some people are the hands. Some are the feet. Some are the mouth. You get the idea.
I’ve posted previously that my church (talking about the collection of folks at NewSpring Wichita) is in the midst of a massive outreach called Judgement House. There’s no other time at NewSpring where you get to see the concept of the Body of Christ played out so literally. It’s amazing to see how a body functions.
But if one part of the Body stops working, the other parts have a hard time getting the job done the way it’s supposed to be done. Like a splinter or a sore or a homicidal eyelash in a “real” body, the Body of Christ can have issues too. After all, even though we’re redeemed, none of us are perfect. And those issues can sometimes cause difficulty for other parts of the body. But what’s truly amazing is watching how the other parts take up the slack.
If you have a lash in your eye, you have another eye that can still see, and your hand is there to seek out the offending lash and make it go away. Similarly with a splinter, you can shift your weight to your other foot or gesture with your other hand. And if your tongue stops wagging, you can still communicate with your hands (at least I can).
I’m rambling at this point because I’m exhausted from all these nights of Judgement House, so I’d better get to the point. Basically last night I just got to thinking about how sometimes body parts need a break.
I really don’t sit down the whole time I’m at Judgement House. I could. But my brain wanders if I sit still so long, and I want to stay focused. So I pace. And a few hours of pacing isn’t that big of a deal, but we’re talking eight hours of pacing. By the end of the night, my feet are killing me.
Well, the other night–after a night of pacing–I came out to my car to find it frosted over. It’s starting to get cold here. And honestly the last thing I really wanted to do was stand out in the cold and scrape the icy frost off my windows. But I wanted to go home. So I started working on it. And that’s when a young man I’ve known for ages popped over to my car and helped me. I later found out that other folks all over the parking lot had the ice cleaned off their windows too. I’m not sure if it were the same guy, but whoever it was made me think about how awesome the Body of Christ truly is. He didn’t need recognition. I didn’t even ask him for help. He just saw a need, and he jumped in. That’s how the Body of Christ is supposed to function.
So what does that mean for us today? Well, if you follow Christ, you’re part of His Body, so that means you need to keep your eyes open for a way to help another part of the Body out today. I can’t tell you how or what or where, but I can tell you that there are needs everywhere. And you don’t run across needs by accident. A lot of the time, God has put you where you are “for such a time as this.”
So don’t be crazy but don’t be lazy either. If the Body is struggling, step in. We’re all in this together.