17 March, 2015

A Lesson From My Toe

This past Saturday I was sitting in my office and got up in a hurry to grab my cell phone, which I had left in another room. As I did, I forgot that my tool box was laying in the floor nearby and in my hurry, I hung my little toe on the edge of it. The pain was excruciating to the point that it made me dizzy and nauseated. It literally was so bad that I could not actually feel where the pain was coming from, my entire foot hurt to the point that my sense of feeling in the foot was not right and was going numb. It took me probably 4 or 5 minutes before I even realized that I had torn a half inch gash in the toe and was leaving blood where ever I walked. Walking was awkward and painful and finally I told Libby that I was quite certain that I had broken my toe. She wanted me to go to the ER but I knew that most likely all they would do is clean it up and tape it, and I could do that myself.  I've been hobbling ever since. If you don't know it, your toes play a major role in how your balance is maintained. Several times the past few days I've suddenly stumbled as I lost my balance.  Preaching Sunday was a real chore because I was fighting to maintain my balance and was in pain with every step I took. Yesterday, my whole body was in pain. I mean literally, my entire body. I had aches and pains everywhere, had a terrible headache and simply could not find any relief no matter what I did. Finally last evening I told Libby that I had figured it out. I told her it was my toe. She gave me a funny look, to which I responded that my toe hurting had caused me to walk differently and that had thrown my entire body out of kilter and it had my legs, hip, back, neck... everything to be out of alignment and was causing the headache and pain everywhere. I absolutely hate taking them, but my doctor prescribes muscle relaxers to me due to back spasms that I suffer with, so last night I gave in and took a muscle relaxer. It took a long time to make any difference, but after a couple of hours I was sound asleep, slept through the night (which is very unusual for me) and woke up feeling like a new man. It's kind of odd to think that something like a little toe could mess up your entire body... and here's the life lesson.

This morning when I woke up and the pain in my body (other than the toe) was gone, the thought hit me how just one member of the body being "out of place" could have a profound impact on the entire body... and instantly the parallel to the church body came to mind. One person not being where they should be affects the entire Body of Christ. My mind was drawn to a discussion I had with a man who left my church a couple of years ago. He had told me repeatedly that he really did not want to leave but felt he needed to. (I never could get a handle on that one.) A month or so after he left I ran into him in town and asked him things are going and he said, "I miss Harvest Church. It will always be home, but I guess I'll get used to it."  I was thinking to myself, "if Harvest Church will always be home and you have to 'get used to' the place you are attending now, doesn't something seem wrong with this picture?"  I've had similar conversations with many people over the years and I've always had the same thought... "why are you walking away from a place where you feel welcome, wanted, fed and at home... to go someplace you must get used to?" Something just is not right with this picture. Well, this morning my toe spoke to me and I got it. In almost every single one of these cases, out side forces (a tool box in my case) interjected itself and caused someone to make a adjustments in these people's lives. Just as I have had to adjust my walk, these people adjusted theirs. It was painful, but it was the only way to walk. And as this man said to me a couple of years ago, you "get used to it."  A person can adapt and get used to a lot of things, even things that are not best for them. It reminds me of another experience I had about 15 years ago. I had been having a lot of health issues and went to see my doctor. He told me that I was holding my head funny and asked me to see an orthopedic surgeon. I agreed and when I saw the orthopedic, within a couple of minutes he said, "you have a torn rotator cuff and it is causing your body to compensate in ways that are un-natural. He said the damage was causing me to use other muscles to do the work that my bicep muscles was supposed to do, but could not do because of the impingement in the shoulder. When I had surgery to put my shoulder back together, I was amazed at how many problems I was having disappeared. I slept better, had less headaches, less back strain, even held my head in a different position.  That's what happens when one part of the body is not in place and doing what it should be doing.  This is a powerful example of the Body of Christ. When one person gets out of place or otherwise does not perform in the manner in which God ordained for them to, it means other members have to compensate and realign to take up the slack. I submit this is not God's plan.  1 Corinthians 14:33 says, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace..."  I absolutely believe that there is a time and place for people to leave a church, but if it is the Lord leading that move, it will never cause confusion or for the Body to suffer. There will always be a smooth transition and someone will be there to fill the void. If there is a scramble and someone has to pull "double duty" then it is not of God. Period. There is no debate. God says he is not the author of confusion, and for a person to say, "God led me" to do something that brings disruption and confusion is a cop out. They did it for selfish reasons and spiritualized it by throwing the "God card" so that it could not be debated.  If the church has to "adapt" and if that person has to "get used to it" then the Body is out of balance and not functioning correctly. Yes, you can get used to it... but that is akin to my "getting used to walking in an odd manner which caused my body to suffer. When we are out of place, we know it. Deep down within we know it. This is why the man I referenced above told me that "Harvest will always be home." His heart is in one place while his body is in another. We need to make sure that we don't let outside influences affect our walk and disrupt the body. (By the way, I removed my tool box from my office floor so it wouldn't happen again.)  
He who has ear to hear, let him hear.

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