When One Member Suffers
By Josh Creel
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)
I used to be athletic. Growing up summers were spent playing baseball and pickup basketball with my friends while falls were dedicated to football. In college I started running and as recently as last year I ran a half-marathon. Then came the move (you got it, I’m blaming my recent woes on you!). Exercise stopped, eating a lot of take-out ensued. And on came the pounds, I’m guessing 10-15 from September – November. But with the coming New Year, I had vowed to return to my athletic ways. Ok, that neck issue at the start of the year delayed things, but by mid-January I was ready to go. Workouts at the YMCA, runs around the neighborhood, bike rides in Flatwoods Park. But then came the wonderful idea to play basketball, and most of you know how that story ends… me crumpled on the ground with an ankle looking more like a basketball than, well an ankle.
I don’t mind telling you that it hurt. I’ve twisted ankles before, but this really hurt. In fact, for days it was the only thing I could feel. Didn’t matter that the rest of my body (legs, arms, shoulders, head, etc.) felt fine, all I could feel was the balloon size ankle. And everything I did was geared toward making the ankle feel better. One of my members was suffering, and the rest of me was suffering with it.
1 Corinthians 12 is a beautiful passage. It’s original intent was to deflate the egos of some Corinthian Christians, those who boasted over various spiritual gifts. Paul’s point: you’re one body, each member of the body is essential, each member of the body is important. Towards the end of the passage, to emphasize the unity of Christ’s body, Paul writes, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.” That phrase really has me thinking. When a part of my body hurts, like my ankle, the rest of my body knows it because the entire body is connected. In the same way, the body of believers is to be so connected that when one member suffers the rest know and suffer along. We’ve been emphasizing the idea of community, and we do that because God emphasizes it. He desires for us to form relationships so tight that we not only know each other’s sorrows and successes, we feel them. That’s community, and that’s what leads to service. If we are that closely knit, then when one member suffers, the rest of the members will focus their attention on alleviating the pain of the suffering member.
I will be whole again, I will regain some measure of athleticism. It’s my body and I’m determined to make it happen. Let us say the same thing about Christ’s body. It will be whole, those members who are suffering will be restored to perfect health. We are one body and we’re determined to make it happen.
Time - Where does it Go?
By Steve Patton
“Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?”
The Psalmist is crying out to God to favor his people after some harsh judgments. He wanted to see God act before his life ended. But he states an eternal truth – our time is short and no one will cheat death. It comes to all and almost always too quickly. It does not always seem that way. The year before I got my driver’s license seemed like an eternity. The years when my children were small were gone like the wind. But those who reach their mature years all wish they had more time.
Every book or article I read about how to use time more efficiently starts with the same suggestion – Prioritize your tasks. In fact they say prioritize your life. Then do the most important things first. That is good advice for an executive but it is also great advice for your daily life. Do the most important things first. As a Christian where is your service to the Lord on your priority list? Do the things you do for Him head your list? Not just in theory but in actual practice?
We all have the same amount of time in each week: 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. God does not give you less time than anyone else. If God and his kingdom are a priority in your life then you have exactly the same of amount of time to serve him as any other Christian. How you serve comes down to that all important timesaver – setting priorities. Where will yours be in 2014? Start to build your faith daily and live it 24/7. Let’s do that together.