1 Corinthians 12:12-17 – “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?”
1 Corinthians 14:26 – “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
The ravages of the neurological condition I live with have taken their toll on my stamina, strength, and especially my hand/eye coordination and dexterity. I am not always aware how far my disability has progressed until I attempt to do something that I once was able to do – only to discover I can no longer do what I was once able to do.
As my disability progresses, and as I now attend a church that is not easily accessible by transit, I struggle with how small my contribution to my church has become, practically speaking. As I am relatively new at this church, I am not part of the prayer and ministry team, although I was very active in this area in my former church. I can’t help when we bless our neighbourhood through meals and physical service. Due to a lack of transportation, there are many times when I am not able to attend times of city-wide prayer and intercession.
As I read the above bible passages, I felt both the conviction and encouragement of the Holy Spirit. He calls me to stop comparing my contribution with the contribution of others. As Paul pointedly states in 1 Corinthians 12, God does not let me off the hook from being a functioning part of the body just because I am not a ‘hand or an eye.’
Lest I should be tempted to despair that I have anything of worth to contribute, God reminds me of His truth found in 1 Corinthians 14:26.
I suspect I am not alone in my sense of inadequacy. Perhaps as you read this, you wonder if you have anything of value to offer your brothers and sisters in Christ. God is encouraging you to seek after Him for those opportunities to bless others that He will bring across your way. The smallest act of kindness can have a profound impact on the life of another believer. A simple word spoken in right season can break through strongholds. A gentle hug can soothe a hurting heart. A simple introduction can make a newcomer feel a part of the family. A few bulletins picked up at the end of the service may allow the church staff a few seconds more they can spend with their loved ones rather than having to stay long after the church clears to tidy up the mess others left behind.
When God calls me to join in fellowship with other believers, He never sends me with empty hands. He always gives me something of value to share with the body of Christ.
During the current situation in Spring 2020, there are still ways to reach out and make a difference. Pick up the phone and call someone. If you are an extrovert and your family is tired of hearing your verbal processing, you’ll receive a benefit as well. Pray for people over the phone. Most importantly, listen to their heart. Don’t just say you’ll pray, pray for them right on the spot.
When you hear of a need, consider it your mission to see that need met by praying for provision and/or being the source of that provision. When you see a need, do something about it.
It can be a simple as picking up a bit of trash or smiling with compassion at that person struggling in the grocery store.
Call your church office and ask if they know of any seniors or singles who are isolated and think of ways to bless them and help them to not feel so isolated. You’ll be amazed at the rich friendships you build this way.
As some churches are being allowed to meet as long as they meet strict guidelines, these churches are hosting more services each Sunday than they usually would. Perhaps you are not the type who feels comfortable praying for others or leading a group, but you have a keen eye for detail. Ask your church if they need help cleaning and sanitising.
Follow your church’s protocol of course but if you notice someone struggling, a kind word goes a long way. We might not be able to hug each other right now, but we can give all the verbal hugs of encouragement we want to. Liberally sprinkle hope in the Body of Christ, and you’ll yield a bumper crop in return.
Finally, and most importantly, do your best to encourage, bless, and honour your church leadership. Pray for then daily. Think of practical ways you can make their burden light. In the past, young leaders could go to more seasoned leaders for advice on how to navigate through situations that were new to them. What faces our leadership in 2020 has not been faced since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919-1920.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden