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 Corinthians 12:12-14
I knew I should have waited. My new rollerblades turned up after my children’s request for me to skate with them. The knee protectors and elbow protectors arrived, and then came the sunshine. Missing only my wrist guards, delayed in shipping, I strapped on my skates, and took them out. The first outing went well, and filled with confidence from their maiden voyage, a second sunny day came, and the skates came out once more. Joy was had until a tiny piece of gravel caused the cartoonish banana peel slip up-in-the-air backwards fall, and a painful landing on the driveway. I knew right then I wouldn’t be using my left arm for a while.
Anyone who has ever broken an arm or had surgery knows how frustrating it is to lose their dominant hand. Thankfully I had not. I knew that I was fortunate and refusing to make a big deal, proceeded to carry on with life. After all, I still had my ”vital” hand....
it has been two full weeks now. A humbling two weeks. I have had my food cut up into pieces for me. I still cannot open or close the microwave. I wince each time I get up or get dressed. I cannot hold a ladle with one hand and a plate with the other. Yes, I am functioning, but inefficiently. My body just isn’t working properly. I have dropped pasta on the stove, green beans on the counter, and am basically making a mess until someone literally lends me a left hand. it reminds me of the words that Paul wrote;
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 12:21-22)
My stronger dominant hand may be the one I write with, but my left is the one that supports the paper. I turn pages with my right, but my left holds the book. My learning and growth needs both hands. I open the jar with my right hand, but the left hand holds it. I serve meals with my right hand but my left holds the plate. My nourishment needs both. Our nourishment, learning and growth require both.
Paul was writing to encourage the Corinthian church to work together like the parts of the body work together to accomplish things. All parts necessary to function well. Right hands, and left hands together holding the truth of the Gospel and putting it into action.
I cannot help but think about how the body of the church has been impacted by social distancing and restrictions. Many churches are trying to operate one-handed and the truth is being felt more than ever; we need to be the body together. We need to be two-handed again working together to accomplish the tasks set out before us by our Lord; to follow Him, and to make disciples who will do the same.
It may seem odd to consider serving when so many have been unable to “go to church.” Yet the absence of people makes this pertinent today for we need to ask ourselves now “Who needs help, now?” And “how are we planning for serving together in the future?” For we know that the church was never only on Sunday mornings, but rather the people of God on a unified mission together. Without meeting and serving, we are at risk of being consumers, watching ”church” yet unable to fully participate.
For the Church is the people of God using their gifts to sing and lead worship that will bless, gifts of hospitality to welcome the stranger and help them feel like a friend, gifts of preaching to proclaim the word, teaching to help God’s people grow, gifts of administration that manage finances, gifts of helping out and getting things done... No one person above or below the other in terms of the worthiness of their offering, but together accomplishing work for His glory.
Without all those parts, we are at best, dropping green beans on the counter, and at worst, we are ineffective unable to actually accomplish much.
Yes, you are needed in order to help others grow in maturity. And others are needed to grow us to maturity. And all are needed to display the glory of God through His chosen method; the church.
We know this. And as easy as it is to take our left hand for granted, so too can we take our need for one another for granted. Therefore I wanted to simply say ‘thank you” for your desire to be a part of the body. Thank you to those who have cooked meals over the years, stewarded resources, taught Sunday school, rocked babies in a nursery, been prayer warriors, handed out bulletins, set up events, torn them down, and cleaned up brand new stains after having just steam cleaned the carpet. Thank you for lending a hand. It was, and is, needed.