Along came the advent of cell phones, and soon text messaging on the devices became a part of everyday life. Although I came into the activity later than most, I quickly became addicted to the practice, and suddenly my right thumb had a whole new job description added to its resume as it became the digit of choice to communicate my thoughts.
Although eager to please, it has struggled in its new role to some degree. Required to display a dexterity that has never before been demanded of it, it sighs in frustration sometimes at the sight of my sons’ thumbs flying over the miniature keyboards on their phones with an ease and muscle control that it lacks. Instead it stumbles and bumbles along, occasionally overlapping onto the wrong key by accident or hitting the backspace button, the space bar, or the language indicator button, adding to its slow progress with the need to backtrack, correct its mistakes and try again. And yet it plods along, doing the best it can, and hoping that time and experience will give it the skill that it currently lacks.
Similarly, God sometimes asks the members of His Body to take on new roles or job assignments that require an ability they don’t think they possess. I’ve seen the situation illustrated in my own church recently in which our pastor has struggled through an 18-month battle with cancer, the treatment and recovery of which left him unable at times to fulfill his normal duties. As a result, numerous other church members have stepped up and filled in for him in various ways. Some have preached the Sunday sermons while others have visited the sick in hospitals, counseled the troubled, mentored the new converts…even collected the information for the bulletin and seen to its printing, folding and distribution. Most of them were asked to fill shoes they were unaccustomed to walking in, and for some there was a painful breaking-in period of learning and adjusting and beginning again.
While I rarely express my gratitude to my thumb, I appreciate its willingness to take on this new assignment and its humble attempts to improve and excel despite the difficulties it faces. And when God looks at His Body and sees individual members working together to deliver His message despite the obstacles that stand in their way, His whispered reflection, “I’m all thumbs today!”… are surely words of highest praise.
“The body is a unit, thought it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”
(1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV)
(1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV)