Knees and Toes. And ankles and wrists and fingers and back! Wait… That’s not how the song goes? Well, that’s how my song goes this week as the Caribbean’s latest victim of the notorious Chikungunya.
Oh. My. Land. Thursday night as I went to bed, I mentioned to Kevin that my middle finger hurt (no middle finger jokes… 🙂 ). Then, I woke up about 2am and my ankles and knees were a little achy. I was trying to talk myself out of the fact that I may have the Chik, thinking I worked with a group this week, was on the go a lot, my old body is probably just tired from the long week. But no, as the night went on it started to become clear that I did, in fact, have the beginnings of Chikungunya. Blerg.
So, Friday I began the ritual of alternating Tylonel and Ibuprofen throughout the day. I was achy and had a mild fever, but it was manageable. I thought, “Hmmmm, I don’t seem to have it as bad as some of the others that have had it.” Then Saturday came. Saturday I couldn’t get my fever below 101, even with the alternating pain-killers/fever-reducers. And the pain… YIKES. My knees felt like they were going to buckle and my ankles ~ oooo-eeeee. You never realize how much you use different body parts until they are unusable. Like the middle finger. Try opening a water bottle without touching the middle finger or any of its tendons etc. Who knew I took “tall man” (middle finger) for granted?
And it got me thinking. The Bible actually talks about this. Like we may think the middle finger is just another one of the fingers, or the ankles, they’re a nice bodily feature to connect the feet to the legs. Check out this passage from 1 Cor. 12:12-31. “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” One body part can’t say to the other, “I don’t need you”. God places us in “bodies”, whether in our churches, communities, ministries and maybe even businesses. And each person in the “body” plays a role. And that role is a vital part of the operation of the whole body. Whether you take out the garbage or make a multi-million business deal ~ your role is important. In ministry, maybe you’re not the “one out front” but the stuff you do in the background helps the body function as a whole. The body is not one person, but a group of people that God brings together, with different gifts and abilities, different interests and desires, different ways to add value and productivity to the body. If the middle finger is out of commission it affects the hand and the arm and the whole body. If the ankle is stricken with pain, the body walks with a limp, is slower, less effective.
Two things we can pull from this:
1) Do not think what you do or can contribute doesn’t matter to the body. “God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.” “…those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary.” You matter. God has gifted you in a very specific way for you to serve at your church/ministry, in your community and maybe even at your job. You are valued and needed.
2) Do not think that you don’t need the rest of the body. “And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?” If we were a bunch of elbows walking around, all that would get accomplished is a bunch of rib nudging. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” Work together, with all the parts of the body, to function (in the case of ministry) for God’s glory.