“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By Sarah Baughman, Lutheran author and deaconess candidate
The eye needs the hand
“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body … Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Cor. 12:18–20, 27)
If you were a child hearing this passage read, you might start imagining a hand talking to a hand, two fists with markered-on eyes and the thumb tucked in to form a mouth.
A cartoonish voice might say, “I don’t belong to the body because I’m not a foot,” in a sad and mopey voice.
Even as an adult this is the first mental image I get, even though I know the spiritual Truth the passage imparts. Pretty silly, right?
As silly as it seems to imagine body parts talking to one another and thinking their unworthiness is born of being different, not the same as another, it’s just as silly when we as Christians apply this to ourselves or anyone else.
This may be one of the hardest pieces, as a church worker, to help people understand — their value in Christ alone as well as their value to the church and the kingdom of God.
Individuality is hugely important in our current culture, even to the detriment of community life at times.
However, swinging the other way entirely isn’t helpful, either.
As Christians, we understand that there’s beauty and goodness in our individuality as well as in our community with one another. We each have gifts given by God, that the church needs.
Hands that serve and minister, feet that run and move, eyes that seek and observe, ears that listen and care … and so much more!
God doesn’t call us all to the same service, nor does He expect us to attempt to change ourselves to fit where we really just don’t. Or maybe where we don’t fit best.
A woman I know wanted to sing in the choir because some of her family and friends did. Unfortunately, that was not a gift she was given.
She could have taken voice lessons, practiced daily with her musician husband, and possibly improved.
However, she realized this wasn’t her gift and instead turned her energies to helping in the Sunday school.
Now, some may say that she should have stuck it out, that it’s about making a joyful noise, not a pitch-perfect noise, but she decided another solution: to focus on the gifts she knew she’d been given.
Not all are mouths. Not all are singers. Not all are pastors or teachers or any number of things.
Let us rejoice in the gifts we have been given, in the roles and tasks and work that God has prepared for us.
Let us serve with joy and encourage one another in their service.
It is in this Body of Christ that we also belong. As workers, we can’t do it all, and that is OK.
If you’re a back, and you itch, ask the hand for help with that.
If you are a knee and are injured, there’s no shame in limping for a bit until you can heal.
God has brought us together for mutual benefit and building up. He has provided us with one another for strength and encouragement.
Allow yourself to participate in the Body of Christ and receive the many blessings to be found there.
Sarah Baughman is the author of A Flame in the Dark: A Novel about Luther’s Reformation. Sarah earned her B.A. in Theology with a minor in English from Concordia University Chicago. She and her husband, Karl, have four children.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.