Pieces Parts - A Parable
So, I was just sitting there, not really thinking about anything. Just chillin out. Then, I heard a voice.
It was my right elbow.
“Hey, Mike! Can I talk to you about something? It’s about the feet. I know I’m way up here and they are way down there but they bother me. They smell funny. Can you talk to them about that? If something doesn’t change, I’m not sure I want to be around them.”
Thinking that because the elbow brought this problem to me it was mine to fix, I addressed my feet.
“Hey guys. I appreciate all you do, getting me places….that balance thing….and never complaining much. I wanted you to know that there has been a complaint.”
My feet were shocked that anyone could have a problem with them. They wanted to know what was wrong. They wanted to know who was complaining about them.
“Well, there have been complaints about how you smell. I’d rather not say who it was.”
The feet weren’t completely unprepared for this.
“Look, Mike. We know it’s probably those elbows again. You know, we’ve heard them whispering to the wrists and forearms. We know how we smell. It’s still hurtful to hear it. And it’s not like it’s our fault! The hands keep us stuck in those shoes and socks ALL THE TIME and, as you know, this IS Texas. It’s hot down here! Of course we smell!”
My feet weren’t done.
“You know, the hands could help out a little. Give us a chance to breathe sometimes! And how about some soap and water between showers? Is that too much to ask? And while we’re at it, have you taken a good look at those elbows lately? They are out there for the whole world to see and look at how dry and wrinkly they are! The rest of us parts are all feeling old because of how those two elbows have let themselves go.”
“AND what do the elbows contribute to the rest of us, anyway? They bend! That’s it! The hands do lots of things….hold things, wave, type….now, those hands…they are important! And we feet, sure we smell a little, but we can get you places. But those elbows…they are just the “knees of the arm area”. How important can they be if all they do is bend?”
The rest of my body was listening. Each part was comparing itself to the others. Some were feeling pretty good about themselves because when they did this they seemed to be more important or attractive. Most parts, though, felt horrible about themselves or their appearance.
In no time at all the different parts of my body wanted to be apart from the other parts. Knees wanted to be in one place and ears in another. In some cases one hand, like the left one, didn’t even want to hang out with the right one. After all, I was “left-handed” – the left was obviously my favorite.
I decided something had to be done! This could not go unchallenged. We were on the brink of epidemic divisiveness!
I turned to the Word of God. After all, God HAD created my body and put all the parts where they were and had given each part its role to play and its appearance. Perhaps God had something to say about all this.
I read aloud to my body from Romans 12:
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
I hoped my parts were all listening and thinking about what they were doing to one another.
I read an even more specific passage (1 Corinthians 12:12-27):
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO SCHISM IN THE BODY, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
I read this out loud to the elbows and the feet…to the ears and hands and knees…to all my parts.
It caused the parts to think about themselves. It caused the parts to think about one another. Most importantly, it caused my parts to think about God because God had made them and also had made them for one another.
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The Word of God caused my body to repent. It realized that comparing ourselves to one another can only lead to pride or condemnation, both of which cause division.
Let’s stop doing these things in the Lord’s Church – His Body. Let’s enjoy one another….and the gifts that we each individually have. Let’s build one another up. If we see a brother or sister doing something and we covet that ability…let’s just ask the Father to give us that gift and let’s choose to accept whatever He does with that. If we see someone in the body who lacks or needs direction or healing or cleansing, let’s lovingly step up to help.
Let’s “be Jesus” to one another and to the world.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© April 18, 2011
For use with permission