Let’s say one day my skin cells decide they know best how things should operate in this vessel I call my body. So they holler over to my bone cells, “Hey tough guys! You should really be more like us: soft, shapely, curvy.” And let’s say my bone cells actually listen to them.
Already feeling a bit fractured from the weight of life, my bones begin to question the necessity of their rigidity and strength. I would be in big trouble! Or more accurately, I would be in a big puddle.
What a dull, unresponsive world that would be. So much for being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Or what if the reverse happened? What if my bone cells toss out my DNA manual, call a meeting with my skin cells, and tell them, “Hey softies! Being gentle and tender is a sign of weakness and we don’t want to be weak, do we? Try to be more thick skinned, more tough like us.” Forget being like a puddle, I’d be more like C-3PO from Star Wars.
What a callous world that would be. Who wants someone like C-3PO to nuzzle their neck, cradle their baby, or gently hold their hand. So much for that fruit of the Spirit.
Dr. Paul Brand says “chemically [all] my cells are almost alike, but visually and functionally they are as different as the animals in the zoo.” Which is exactly what I’d be if my cells, nerves, and muscles didn’t perform as God intended: zoo-y.
If my calf muscles were more like my reactive eyelid muscles, my legs would never stop twitching against my jeans.
If my taste buds were to feel envious and bitter towards my optic nerves, I’d evolve into a 3-eyed figure unable to taste the difference between pizza and the box it came in.
And if my nose were to start competing with my legs for length, I might find myself hanging out with elephants.
What a Dr. Suess-like world that would be! Crazy, funny, laughable, but ultimately not functional as God intended.
Creator God did not knit my cells together so they would compete, judge, or be envious of one another – although they are prone to do so in our current fallen state. Nor did He create all my cells to look or function the same.
Being an infinitely imaginative Creator, He fashioned all kinds of unique cells to do all kinds of wonderful things. In fact, He seems to delight in creating all kinds of unique and wonderful things:
Nerve cells that see, hear, taste, smell and feel.
Animals that croak, chirp, cheep, chrottle, and cluck.
Flowers that bloom red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and every color in between.
Every bird song: distinct.
Every sunset: unique.
Every snowflake: different.
Every fingerprint: one-of-a-kind.
But it’s actually more than that, isn’t it?
Every single bird song: delightfully distinct.
Every single sunset: beautifully unique.
Every single snowflake: perfectly different.
Every single fingerprint: lovingly created as one-of-a-kind.
So why would we think that God’s extraordinary love of variety would be limited to just the natural world and not extend through our bodies and right on into the Body of Christ.
If our cells can honor each other’s uniqueness to reflect the craftsmanship to God, then cannot we, the Body of Christ, reflect His image likewise.
Dr. Brand surmises, if “my body employs a bewildering zoo of cells” all uniquely shaped and gifted, then it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that “Christ’s Body comprises an unlikely assortment of humans” all uniquely shaped and extraordinarily gifted.
Imagine a pianist telling a painter that she should write more songs. The painter then throws away her canvases. Her gifts are crushed – figuratively and literally. No one will ever see her yellows, blues, and purples reflecting God’s glory. Moreover, the painter is plagued with guilt for not being more musically creative.
What a bleak world that would be.
Or what if all the donors of aid relief packages decide to become distributors instead. Who would collect the canned goods, pack the boxes, quilt the comforters, assemble the kits, or pay for the shipping…of the now non-existence relief packages.
What a hungry world that would be.
Or what would happen if a retiring athlete told a recovering alcoholic that addicts are a lost cause. If you really want to make a difference, you should focus on sharing the Good News with jocks.
O, what a dark, lost world that would be!
Gracious God, let us not be so thick-headed and insensitive so as to compare, compete with, or criticize each other thus crushing one another’s unique gifts. Doing so will not reflect you, our Creator, in any way.
Help us to be careful when we speak to each other and use words like “you” and “should” in the same sentence. Instead, let our words be salted with support and grace.
And finally Father, let us draw near to Your heart and see more clearly the unique paths and pursuits You have in works for each of us that will ultimately bring You glory.
What a crazy, wonderful world that would be!
~ For His Glory
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey is a classic book that, quite unbelievably, I didn’t get around to reading until about three months ago. The thoughtful doctor opened my eyes to the wonder that is my earthly vessel and deepened my understanding as to why we’re called to be the Body (and not the arm, eye, or spleen) of Christ.
Secondly, I’d like to give a huge shout out to my college dorm-mate who, among many other roles, is now a high school girls basketball coach. She is an amazing, sensitive, loving, Christ-filled woman, and because of these qualities, she would never dream of telling me that I too should be a basketball coach. I don’t have a clue about basketball!
Were I to try to coach athletes in any sport, my team would lose….every. single. game. And I wouldn’t stand a chance of earning the right to speak into these young women’s lives about their relationships, their dreams, or the beckoning of God in their hearts.
I am so thankful for and inspired by Megan! How much less functional and wonderful would our Body of Christ be without her gifts. #OurGameHisGlory
Join along and encourage someone’s gift, ability, or creativity today in the comments below?