Sometimes we feel insignificant and envious of those who seem to have it all together, who are out in front and proclaiming the Gospel message to hundreds of people. We can’t do that. We aren’t important enough to even be recognized. We are too small, insignificant, unqualified, … we can’t!
Allow me to give you a modern parable for consideration.
In our family room, we have a wood burning stove in the fireplace. We have central heat and air, so we don’t need the fireplace to stay warm in the winter. It is more an ambiance setter, and I do so enjoy it. (The cow tea kettle provides steam for humidity when the fire is roaring.)
Several years ago, I saw an ad about fans that sit on the fireplace stove. They don’t plug in, they simply sit there, as shown in this close-up..
We purchased two of these fans and the first winter we had them, there was a power outage in our community. We had a fire going in the fireplace and the heat chamber had built up sufficiently to power these little fans and their blades were spinning to beat the band. They were going so fast that that they were complete blurs.
Because of their efforts, the heat from the fireplace was pushed out into the room and we were comfy notwithstanding the lack of power.
The little fans had a job to do. They whirled their blades any time there was a fire in the wood stove, deriving their power from the heat in the stove’s chamber. No electricity. Most of the time, you could hardly feel the heat from the blades because the stove’s built in electric fan was running, and it was significantly stronger than those little fans. But, when the power went out, the stove’s fan was silent, and all you could hear was the little fans spinning and doing their job.
Each of us has a job to do in the Body of Christ. We may not be the one in the spotlight, we may not even be in the glow of the light, but we have a job to do and we will be accountable for doing that job to the best of our ability and to the Glory of God, who enables us to do the work through Christ our Lord.
The Apostle Paul said it this way to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
“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.”
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.“
The Apostle Paul said it this way to the Ephesians:
“There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.“
We are not all the same. We cannot do everything. But each Christian CAN do something for the Lord, even if it is small. (Think of the fireplace fan.)
Or, think of your little toe. You know, the toe that you keep stubbing against the furniture at the doorway of the room. It doesn’t seem to accomplish nearly as much as the other parts of the body, but it has a job.
The little toe has many names. It is the little piggy if you are a toddler, the pinky toe if you are a bit genteel, or the fifth digit of the foot if you are a physician. No matter what you call the little toe, it works in concert with the other toes and rest of the foot to get us where we need to go. Podiatrist Dr. Bruce Pinker, with Progressive Foot Care in Nanuet, New York says that “the purpose of the pinky toe is to provide balance and propulsion.”
Dr. Aditi Gupta Jha, lead physician at the online consulting platform, JustDoc.com, agrees with Dr. Pinker’s assessment, saying: “If [the fifth toe is] injured or has to be amputated, it can lead to falls from imbalance.”
So, whether you are a small non-electric fan, that is hidden when the central heat comes on but which provides warmth when the power is out, or a little toe, that does its job even if it stands precariously close to the edge of your foot and close to the edge of the door frame, you have a job to do in the Body of Christ. You may be a teacher, a deacon, an elder, a parent, a secretary, a lawyer, a doctor, a grandparent, a preacher or evangelist. It matters not what occupation you have or what gift you have been given through God’s grace. What matters is that you diligently use that gift with all your might for the glory of God.
So, take your eyes off others. Stop comparing yourself to them. Quit ignoring the gifts that God has given you through His grace.
Instead, turn your eyes upon Jesus. If you want to compare, look at Him and realize you are a sinner, saved by His grace. When we have a rightful image of ourselves, we will do whatever job there is for us to do, not because we are special or talented but because of the love and thankfulness we have for the grace, mercy and love bestowed upon us by God through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Listen to the hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” as presented on October 5, 2012 at The Great Hymns of our Faith Concert which took place in Cape Town. This is one of the hymns that was featured, starring Loyiso Bala, Neville D and Ivan Siegelaar.
Father, Your grace, mercy and love are too much to comprehend when we think about the marvelous work that Jesus did on the cross and through His resurrection. May I turn my eyes upon Jesus and live in His glory and light so that I can do the job that you have assigned to me and give glory to You, Almighty Father, through the power of Your Holy Spirit.