Tuesday, April 23, 2013

For Love of a Clumsy THUMB

For years it was simply enough for me that the thumb on my right hand assisted the other fingers in their many tasks. Because of its existence I have been able to grasp and maneuver objects in a way that would be all but impossible in it’s absence. Picking up a dropped penny, signing my name, even drawing my violin bow across the strings of the instrument are actions I take for granted without giving my first digit a second thought.

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. I will be much more appreciative of my thumb after this! Happy A-Zing!


  2. I loved this post! I will not look at my thumb the same way again! As a pastor's wife, I can really appreciate what your congregation has done to help your pastor. What a gift you all have given them!
    Pam at 2 Encourage

  3. Isn't it wonderful the way we can learn new things? Even our ever useful thumbs. I'm still pitifully slow at texting. My kids tease me, but are ever patient with me too.

  4. Great post! I laugh to think of the effort expended to learn touch typing when mostly we all now use our thumbs!

  5. I love this so very much, Elaine!! I makes me feel more patient with my own short comings and gives me hope!! xoxo

  6. A great post and a wonderful thought! Happy A to Z-ing!


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