November 14, 2012 by vicariouslythroughwords
At times when I need to try and describe what I am thinking or feeling, I will write it out in a prayer poem. Here’s one to start us off:
Confidence is so hard to find in oneself
Sometimes mine is put on a back shelf
I try to grab it when I go somewhere
Then when I need it, it may not be there
I need to find my worth in you
Seek after your ways and do what you do.
Unfortunately at times I am incapable of being spontaneously brave. Bravery is very much in my head and lacking in action. There are spurts of this that combust out of me and then I typically become a turtle and hide until I feel everyone has forgotten. Those few moments when my bravery kicks in and I don’t run away like a shy three year old hiding behind their mother’s leg, I find this unnatural confidence. This confidence sometimes comes from you Lord in a way I want to be your hands and feet. At other moments I am shameful because the confidence I find is pride and ego. I let this get in the way. It clouds my view of you and my reflection to others of who you are.
Recently, I had the opportunity to make service to others from delicate and small into something where more than just my hands could operate. We all know a single set of hands can do work and a set of two can do twice as much. Sets upon sets could turn into skies the limit. Yet, my confidence lacks follow through in asking for help. I get afraid of rejection that my idea will be thought of as lame or minuscule to that of others.
My pride also kicks into gear and sharing responsibility can be difficult. Why do we do this? Why carry the burden of responsibility all on our own when we’ve been given a community of faith to rely on for help, encouragement and service. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to make decisions on my own, but I’m denying the opportunity of others in sharing their gifts and for us to learn from each other.
Below is 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 in both the Common English translation and The Message translation (I’m the kind of reader who needs several explanations or illustrations to get the point across in my head). The first is your more traditional version getting to the point, which is how I tend to like to read. Why read something longer if I can get it shorter and receive the same message. However, the second is a beautifully written description that I highly recommend reading if you have the time to enjoy. Read one or read both, they’re the same just different.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 -Common English
“12 Christ is just like the human body—a body is a unit and has many parts; and all the parts of the body are one body, even though there are many. 13 We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jew or Greek, or slave or free, and we all were given one Spirit to drink. 14 Certainly the body isn’t one part but many. 15 If the foot says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not a hand,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 16 If the ear says, “I’m not part of the body because I’m not an eye,” does that mean it’s not part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing? And if the whole body were an ear, what would happen to the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God has placed each one of the parts in the body just like he wanted. 19 If all were one and the same body part, what would happen to the body? 20 But as it is, there are many parts but one body. 21 So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” or in turn, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 Instead, the parts of the body that people think are the weakest are the most necessary. 23 The parts of the body that we think are less honorable are the ones we honor the most. The private parts of our body that aren’t presentable are the ones that are given the most dignity. 24 The parts of our body that are presentable don’t need this. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the part with less honor 25 so that there won’t be division in the body and so the parts might have mutual concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. 27 You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – The Message
“12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
27 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.”
This is what I need to be reminded of, not only do we need each other, but for God’s work to get done, no one is greater than the other. I am selfish for wanting to do it alone and stupid for not asking for help. In The Message version starting with verses 19-24 really hit home for me,
“19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster.”
I cannot let my blown up ego of self-importance and gigantic monster of a hand get in the way of the Body of Christ doing the work of God.
Lord, may you be my source of confidence and bravery. The kind that jumps out shows your un-bounding love, unconditional mounds of grace and undeserving mercy. Grab my pride and let it fall by the wayside. Let every word I say as your extension be for you & for the glory of your kingdom. Let the extension I have been given reach to others so your stretch of glory will reach lengths I only dare to dream.