By Aude McKee
You get a telephone call – one of the members of the church is seriously ill. Perhaps the first thing that comes to your mind is, “What would we do without him/her?” And then you begin to think about all those dedicated and faithful Christians who are not ill. Which of those would you be willing to give up?
My mother was born in 1882 and back in her school days the theory was widely held that a good education put stress on building character. This meant that the school books were filled with stories and poems designed to make boys and girls better, Up almost to the day of her death (at age 95), she often would recite poems or tell stories that she had learned in school more than eighty years before. One of the stories that always impressed me was the one about a mother of eight or ten children who lost her husband. She lacked the Ability to feed and clothe that many children adequately, and since there were people in the community who were willing to take some of the children, she had to decide which ones to give up. She began with John, the oldest, but how could she do without him? He cut the wood and mowed the yard. Then there was Sally, the next to oldest. But she couldn’t spare Sally – Sally was the best dishwasher to be found anywhere. As she labored over her decision she found a good reason why she couldn’t part with any of the boys and girls until she finally came to little Billy. He was only two and about as mean as a two-year-old could get. She thought about Billy for a long time and then she finally said, “I can’t let Billy go. Nobody but a mother could love Billy.”
I’m not sure how well that story fits what we are trying to say in this article, but every member of the body is necessary to its proper functioning. All of us are different. We have different personalities and widely varying capabilities but that doesn’t make any of us less necessary to the health of the local church. Occasionally you may come across someone who has an inflated estimate of his/her importance to the church, but more often it is the other way round. Too many times a faithful child of God feels unimportant, unnecessary, in the way. Perhaps he/she can’t do what was possible in the past because of age or health problems, but as the old song says, “There is room in the kingdom of God for you my brother, for the small things that you can do. Just a small kindly deed that may cheer another, is the work God has planned for you. Just a cup of cold water in His name given, may the hope in some heart renew. Do not wait to be told nor by sorrow driven, to the work God has planned for you.” Then the chorus ends with the words, “There is work that we all can do. “
The Holy Spirit said it so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12: “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary” (vv. 21-22).
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 4, p. 101
February 18, 1988