By Mark Canady, District Representative, Western
In my last blog, I wrote about Warren, a man who our family had adopted at the young age of 75. Not only was Warren a joy to our family and our church family, but God used him to teach us many things regarding life in the body of Christ.
Entering Life in the Body of Christ
Because Warren had been badly burned, he had many limitations. He had lost part of his right arm, and some fingers on his left hand were somewhat repaired with skin grafts but the burn left him without fingerprints. I learned that fingerprints are very important in the smallest of things like turning the pages in your Bible.
After he started attending on a regular basis, he came in one morning as I was setting up chairs. A table was still up from the day before. Warren came up to me and said, “You see that table over there? You think you could leave that table up so a fellow like me could put his Bible on there so I can try to follow you as you preach?” That week we had an eight-foot table set up in our small sanctuary. The next week I had found a much smaller table to use; from that time forward it was “Warren’s Table”!
Learning About Life in the Body of ChristAs with many churches we had frequent fellowship dinners. These are always a time for fellowship and connection, a part of our life in the body of Christ. When we first started the work in Pacific City, these dinners were crucial to our small body of believers. As a part of our church family, Warren was invited to every one of those dinners. For some reason he would not come.
One day, the ladies of the church cornered me to tell me that their feelings were hurt that Warren wouldn’t come. They let me know it was my job to go tell him. I remember meeting with Warren, telling him that the ladies were feeling hurt that he wouldn’t eat their food. He said, “You know I don’t want to hurt them there ladies’ feelings…so I’ll come to the next dinner!”
A few weeks later he stood in line with a plate in his one and only hand. He stood there for a moment, until Dick Girt, who was standing next to him, said with a chuckle, “You got a problem there?”
Warren replied, “Yes, I’m a little shorthanded!” All around laughed with Warren. Then Dick said, “just let me know what you want and I’ll fill your plate!” We learned that day why Warren didn’t want to come to our fellowship dinners, but this was never a problem again.
An Application to Life in the Body of Christ
“But now God has arranged the members, each one of them in the body, as He desired. And if all were one member, where would be the body? But now indeed, there are many members, but one body. Now the eye is not able to say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you.’ Or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20)
As I write this article, both Warren and Dick have been in the Lord’s presence for several years. Two men who had physical inadequacies here on earth have now found their completion in the Lord’s presence. I wonder how many times these men have chuckled about how God threw them together to complete what was lacking in the other?
I have wondered how many churches are always “short-handed” because they won’t take the time to walk through the open door in front of them and dish out some food on the plate for the person next to them–in need!
It seems an appropriate message for the “one body” church with “many members” to say, I DO HAVE NEED OF YOU! This is the only way for the church to work in rural North America, or anywhere else for that matter!