“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[c] 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.
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. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.~ 1 Corinthians 12: 12-21
I love this scripture. It speaks a lot to me, but I all to often walk away from it forgetting to apply its truth to my heart and mind. Two themes across the span of the past few years, but especially this past year, has been unity and blooming where you’re planted. I hope that what I try to convey in words makes sense and resonates with many of you. This is my attempt to. I have had too many affirmations of what I feel like have been some momentous lessons and spiritual pruning, too much not to share. Consider this a confession as well as an exhortation.
I am one of those people who struggle “feeling” like they fit in. As much as I longed to feel like I belonged, I just didn’t. Several factors played a role in this. Some were external situations; others were personality quirks. Either way you looked at it, I never felt like I could be wanted or valued as an important player in pretty much any group setting. Even my family, I had learned (at least in my head) that I was too insignificant to be noticed or needed by them.
Fast forward to adulthood and church. God has healed me and freed me from a lot of the self-worth garbage that I have struggled with. But deep down there has been an acceptance and an “owning”, if you will, that I am not noticed and not valued within the church body. I thought I was functioning ok because I desire to still be obedient to God and still serve. I have done my best accordingly. But, if you were to touch the subject on the parts of the body, I would jokingly say, “Well, I am the big toe.” Underlying that comment, however, was a sense of hurt and maybe even bitterness that I was nothing more than that. Until God really started to point out to me, the root of this issue. I really desired the approval of man more than God and God alone. I looked to man’s approval to know that I was wanted and had a place. It was a deep yearning that, even though I didn’t understand, I truly wanted. However, that kind of accolades, that kind of notice..did not come from where I wanted to come from. I had to learn to believe and accept that it was to come from God and God alone and guess what, that I already had it. I was His and He wanted me…I belonged to Him. Thrilling thought, but I still struggled to believe that the God of the universe could specifically be pleased with me just being a toe.
In this day and age, where so much is immediately seen because of social media…praise, notoriety, appreciation…so much, it is hard to not feel like you are doing something wrong when you are not on the radar. When the things that you do for the Lord are not seen by others, are not praised by others, can you be pleased with the fact that God sees? This is an important question that all of us…ALL OF US have to regularly ask ourselves. When you have done something faithfully for the Lord, but it doesn’t seem like an important task, can you be satisfied with the knowing that HE SEES and HE VALUES the job? If what you do year in and year out gets you no promotion, no higher role, no title, can you be joyful at the fact that the Lord is calling you His child? Can that be fuel enough to persevere? We have to stop falling into the trap that what man sees as a worthless, needless task or duty is the same as God sees it. It is absolutely not! What God sees and is honored by is an obedient heart bent towards Him. Those tasks that we do big or small matters not. The small meaningless tasks (at least what we deem as so) could be the very thing that honors God and God uses to promote His kingdom.
A couple of years ago, I was sitting during the sermon mulling over whether my being in the worship band did anyone any good. It didn’t feed anyone. It didn’t clothe anyone. It didn’t heal anyone. I did not see nor feel that anything I did helped God promote the kingdom in anyway. I really struggled with it. As I was mulling it over, God stopped my freight train brain in its tracks and said “If I told you that you could be up there with a bean shaker and I would be pleased even with that, could you be happy with that and that alone?” That really convicted me. The fact was that I was placing necessity and value on one thing over another instead of trusting God with where He placed me and that He indeed called where He placed me good. I failed to see that through that He had and still has a plan. He decides what needs to be done and how it is to be done as well as who will do it. We only need to keep soft, pliable, adoring, obedient hearts bent towards Him.
Although I haven’t got this all figured out I do know this much…I want to be found faithful in whatever God has called me to do. I want to remain so close to my Father, that I get excited at doing even the smallest of things just to please Him.
I could keep going with this. Having a united and healthy body is vital for this generation and the ones to come. I will end this with going back to my big toe statement. I still have my big toes..both of them. I would prefer to have them both. If I were to lose one, I could survive without it, but I am sure that there would be some hardship. It is the same with many other parts, maybe we could survive without them, but it still come with a hardship to other parts of the body. The body has to make up for what’s missing and what’s lacking. Thank God, our kidneys can’t just decide, “well, I can’t pump blood which is the real need and there are already two of us, I think I will just leave and go where maybe I can have a more necessary role.” If our own body parts could just up and do that, we’d all freak out all the time…and probably not live through it. What makes us think that it would not be the same with the church body? I heard a quote from Christine Cain that the whole purpose of the body is to hold up Christ, the Head. Our focus and our focus alone should be to hold high Jesus Christ. That’s it! It doesn’t matter what part we are. It matters that we are obedient and embrace the part and role that God has placed us in big or small. Besides, if we can’t be faithful with the small unnoticed roles, how do we think we can be faithful with the big ones? So, it matters not so much as to whether or not I am a big toe. What matters is that I remain faithful to where He has called me and be determined to be that to my utmost. Regardless, of where you’re at in in the church body, rejoice that you have a part…a much needed part. Trust Him where He has placed you. Seek Him in obedience. Be encouraged that He sees and is pleased. Rest in that He has a plan and He will have His way in you.