A few weeks ago I was building a rabbit cage. We thought it’d be a great idea to raise rabbits, and we wanted to teach the kids responsibility by giving them the chores for the rabbit. So I embarked upon this construction project.
I was nearing completion when the drill I was using to screw in the screws slipped off the head of the screw and buried itself in my thumb just above the cuticle. I had to purposefully remove the bit from my thumb and clean off the skin it took with it. Needless to say, it hurt.
The other day I started feeling a strange sensation in my finger. It started small but quickly grew, and now I realize there is an infection in my finger. It sounds gross, but I’m more concerned with the fact that it hurts. It’s difficult to even type this article because of the pain and swelling and stiffness.
Without my finger I have a hard time brushing my teeth, washing myself, using chopsticks, writing with a pen or pencil. It is not the loss of the limb that causes the difficulty. It is the fact that everything that touches it causes me to flinch with pain.
Just sitting here I am constantly attentive to my finger. My whole body reacts to it. Sometimes I wish I could just cut it off, but that would be even more painful and much more permanent. So I’m just dealing with the pain and doctoring it and taking medication for the infection. My whole body wants my finger to get better.
First the thumb; now the finger; I hope I don’t hurt another appendage any time soon. I can’t afford to lose anything.
The apostle, Paul, said that the church is like a body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Each person is a different member of that body. Each church is like a different larger section of that body.
What do we do when people are hurting? When a person who is super active and vocal is hurting everyone pays attention and prays and works to meet their needs during their trying time. The whole body seems to notice and help just like my body is doing for my finger and did for my thumb.
But what about the people who are quiet and on the fringes? Do you even notice when they are hurting? Many times they are. Are you aware? Do you consider them part of the church – the body?
When a person is hurting physically, emotionally or even spiritually they need people who know them and care about their needs. They need people to walk alongside them and carry their burdens. They need the church more than ever.
The next time you’re with your brothers and sisters in Christ look around the room. Is there anyone you don’t know? Go meet them. Is there anyone alone? Invite them to sit by you. Is there anyone new? Take them to lunch and get to know them.
There should be no fringes to the church. Jesus invited us all to be His children. He doesn’t show favoritism. It is easy for us to talk to the people we already know. It’s easy to go to the same wells to look for helpers with church activities. It is easy to create cliques within the church.
But it’s time to stop. It’s time to notice what’s going on and make a change. There are people in need all around us, and we need to pay attention so that they don’t let the infection of whatever they’re dealing with make them wither away and die.
The body of Christ – the church – can’t afford to lose any members – even a finger.