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My finger hurts.  I mean it is hurting so badly as I type this that it is making my entire hand throb.  I don’t know what happened.  I think I might have picked at some skin too near the fingernail and it has now become a festering wound.  For the first couple of days I just ignored it.  Sure it hurt a bit, but it was more just like a mild annoyance than a problem that needed to be dealt with.  Pretty soon it started oozing and required painful remedies like alcohol and cleaning.  Then I started to have to work around it because every time I even touched something with it, it shot pain into my hand.  It has made everything more difficult…typing, cleaning, washing, hand holding…you name it and I am trying to do without the use of the middle finger on my right hand.  Though it is slowly getting better, I can’t help but think about what might have happened if I had immediately cleaned it.

The Bible compares the Church of Jesus Christ to a body.  “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  Each. one. of YOU. is a part of the Body.  Whether we want to be or not, it comes with the territory.  If you decide to follow Jesus, you are accepting a position as a Body part. 

As a Body part, your calling, whether it is writing letters to missionaries or receiving letters from missionaries, is crucial to the functioning of the Kingdom. 

“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

In addition, there is no autonomy in the Kingdom of God.  Beth Moore states it like this, “Individuality is a sign of immaturity in a Christian life.”  We are called to work TOGETHER!  Whether that means that I am on my knees for you as you take to the mission field or as you walk into the boardroom, we are called to walk together.

“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, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

Can you read that again for me out of the Authoritative Word of Almighty God?

 “so that there should be NO division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

We are supposed to be in this together, folks.  We are supposed to be in this together.

Instead we have Christians that are hoping against hope that they can get by with reading a couple Psalms a day to please God.  We have Body parts that think giving God one or two hours a week on a pew is all that He has required.  We have Body parts that love nothing more than to see other Body parts fail because it highlights their own “successes”.  We have Body parts that like to assess the work of others and disqualify it from being a true call.  We have body parts who are perfectly content to waste their lives away on worldly pursuits.

And if talking about the problems on an individual level were not enough, we have churches full of band-aid Christianity.

People are coming into our churches with open wounds and instead of cleaning them out with some Scriptural antiseptic, we are covering them up with feel good band-aids of “happy Jesus” and “there’s grace for that”.  Instead of doing the surgery while there is still time to save the part, we are more comfortable allowing people to think that everything is fine… “it’s not gangrene, its just a little bruise…it’s healing, believe us.”  Without a strong dose of Truth and a willingness to suffer a little bit to be made whole, eventually there’s going to be some amputating going on.

So instead of raising up believers who are fully equipped and empowered to step into their function in the Kingdom, we are contributing to a non functioning body.  When Christians are missing from their function, other Christians have to pick up the slack and things become harder than they should be.  Just as my entire hand is cramping now as I try to avoid typing with my middle finger, the Body is forced to work harder and to function in ways that it wasn’t designed for.

It is time to ask some hard questions of ourselves.  It is time to search out places where we can study and learn the Word outside of our 5 minute Jesus Calling shot in the arm.  It is time to continually make an effort to stay in prayer during the day, stopping to ask often and in every kind of situation “What do You want me to do, Lord?”.  It’s time to look past the annoyances, the jealousies, the weaknesses, and failures in each other and instead build each other up…contribute to the call of one another…invest ourselves into each other in a way that affects us to the core when one rejoices or one suffers.

I have been forced to evaluate myself this week.  Where am I missing in action?  Where am I being disobedient?  What wounds am I not dealing with?  What sins am I allowing to stay?  Because in the answers to these questions are the places where I am failing you…the Body.

Note: For all my friends now worried about my finger, I promise I am keeping a close eye on it and if it does not heal over the weekend or at least get better, I will go have a doctor look at it :).