Confession time – I’m a clutz. Now, I’m not prone to huge disasters like car accidents that total a vehicle, putting myself or a loved one in the hospital . . . no, I’m much more prone to find a bruise and not know how I got it. Or I might do something truly graceful like break my toe! A few years ago, I slipped and fell and entire flight of stairs and broke a toe on my left foot. Not my pinky toe, mind you, but the one next to it. Still don’t know how it happened.
Last night, I was trying to get into the passenger seat of my van wearing a pencil skirt – it was, after all Feminine Friday! – and the narrow cut of the skirt didn’t allow me to get all the way in right away. I had to sit on the edge of the seat then sort of shift myself over the rest of the way. As I was shifting, my right foot slipped and my foot hit the door frame (the door wasn’t shut yet). This wouldn’t have been a big deal except I was wearing dressy flip-flops and there was absolutely no protection for my toes! The only upside is I keep my clutziness symmetrical. I broke the toe next to my pinky toe, this time on my right foot. This affects not only walking but also driving and I’ve had to be out running errands twice already today (insert groan here).
This experience got me to thinking of the passage in I Corinthians 12 where Paul talks about the fact that we are all members of the same body and we need each other. In verses 21 and 22 of that chapter, we read, “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.” Wow, am I living a very painful reminder of this truth!
The toe I have broken is, quite honestly, a small fraction of my whole being. One would be tempted to say it really shouldn’t have much of an effect on my overall existence. I’m here to tell you that’s just not true! After having walked around for a bit on the injured toe, I’m tired, my back aches a little from the limping, and I would just as soon spend the rest of my day with my foot propped up, moving only if absolutely necessary! Most times, I don’t even think about that little digit. But it has dominated my thoughts today.
Have you ever been that person who felt like they just weren’t needed in the body of Christ? Ever felt like the work you were doing wasn’t really needed? Ever felt completely unappreciated? Then let me say a huge thank you to all of you who have ever wondered if what you were doing made a difference! Brothers and sisters, each of us is absolutely necessary in the body of Christ, even if we do occasionally feel like the next-to-the-smallest toe. If you weren’t doing what God had gifted you to do, could I fulfill my role? Maybe. Then again, maybe not.
On the other side of this issue is the reminder that not all of us can be the “star of the show”. Every one of us is going to have moments when we feel like we’re just not making a difference. But are we called to “make a noticable difference” or are we called to obediently use our gifts regardless of whether or not we get noticed? In all honesty, I keep writing these blogs because I feel like I’m supposed to and I know there have been few who have read or commented. But I needed this physical reminder that I’m not called to be a star. I’m called to be obedient. What happens after that is not my concern.
My parents had missionary friends that were on the field for years before they saw one soul come to Jesus. When I say years, I mean at least 10, probably more. I know they had times when they were discouraged, when they thought about giving up. But when people started turning their hearts over to Jesus, it was like the floodgates opened. They were seeing people place their trust in Jesus every day and the number of believers in that area multiplied in a relatively short period of time. What if they had demanded a more “fruitful” assignment? What if they had decided to do something that seemed more glamourous? Think of the blessings they would have missed out on!
I guess the challenge I’m issuing to myself and to anyone who reads this is simple – you are called to use the gifts, passions, talents, and interests you have been given to build the kingdom of God. It really doesn’t matter if you ever receive recognition for what you do. What matters is if you are being obedient to what God has called you to do.