This afternoon whilst playing with my nearly 6-month-old son, I was leaning over him and he showed interest in the zip dangling from my jacket. I stopped to see what he would do. He very slowly manoeuvred his hand into position next to the zip and then I could see him trying to use his thumb and forefinger to hold the zip. He was almost successful and continued to try to do this for ten minutes, never quite getting there. At times he would briefly wave his arms and kick his legs about in frustration. Then he would stop to focus and have another go.
It was whilst my son was doing this that I was reminded of an illustration that I’ve heard my Dad use many times in devotions and sermons over the years. It is about fingers and a thumb working together to pick up a ball. Have you ever tried to pick up a ball with just your thumb? Or just one finger? Maybe you’ve tried with two fingers; it’s still difficult to do depending on the size of the ball. The task is completed much more easily when the fingers and thumb work together to pick up the ball.
It’s a bit like the passage in 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul talks about how the body of Christ, the Church, is one body made up of many members; we cannot say that we don’t need each other, because we do need each other.
Watching my son’s little fingers learning to grasp at a zip reminded me that while we as Christians may be one body in Christ – the Church – it takes time to learn to work together. Oh yes, there’ll be a lot of frustration and effort required along the way! It also requires dropping our pride and checking our own ambition. But the reward is rich if we take the time to learn the nuances of the God-given personality and gifting of other members of His body and learn to work together.
Sarah Wickham first clapped eyes on her then future husband, Steve, and his three daughters while studying her Master of Divinity at Vose Seminary. Sarah has been a Town Planner, Youth Pastor and Photographer. She is now a full-time Mum to Ethan, dabbling in photography occasionally and supporting her husband’s family and ministry.
© 2013 Sarah J. Wickham.