Month: October 2020

This little piggy went to…

I kicked the door. I did not mean to, but I was rushing around, running late to an appointment and in my haste, I was not paying attention to where I was going.  I am clumsy by nature and accidents are a usual accordance for me, so it was not so surprising that I kicked the door as I rushed past. 

The only part of my foot that connected to the door was the most vulnerable and smallest part, my wee little toe.  If you have had the experience of hurting your little toe in a similar incident, you will understand the agony. 

Over the next few days, the toe swelled and turned a blue-black colour and I had trouble walking as putting my foot down was very sore.  This very small, not very important part of my body, which I never usually pay any attention to now had my full attention.  I could not walk without hurting it. I had trouble wearing shoes.  I could not do my normal fitness activities and even sleeping was uncomfortable and difficult. 

How can one small part of my body, impact my life so significantly?

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the church to the human body.  Even the smallest, seemly unimportant part of the body is absolutely vital and indispensable.  If any part of the body is hurt or damaged the whole body suffers.

My little toe was hurt and damaged, but I did not want to remove it or hide it away instead I wanted to be extra gentle and careful and give it extra attention to restore it back to health.

As the church we can at times overlook the hurt, the damaged, the people on the margins, the ones who are hiding in the shadows or do not quite fit in.  Instead we are called to bringing them in, care for them, nurture them, taking special care with them, giving them special honour as they are a vital part of the body of Christ. They are important and significant to the health of the church.

We need diversity and variety. We all have different gifts and talents, and we need each other.  A church that is made up of just legs or arms would be useless to the world.  We need little toes as much as we need the feet to carry them. 

In your rushing about do not overlook the little toes, instead protect and take care of the little toes.

‘Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it’

1 Corinthians 12:27

Under Construction

I might be a work in progress but every day, I get a little bit wiser, a little bit better, a little bit stronger.

Across the road from our house there are 3 new housing developments.  It is noisy and busy on our street, with trucks taking away dirt and contractors working on the sites.  It is interesting to me that even though the projects all started the planning stage at a similar time, the progress looks vastly different.  One site has the houses built and they are now finishing them off, one is still working on the ground preparation and third has yet to start.  So many factors affect the progress of the work because they have different budgets, specifications, planning requirements and challenges.  They have the same goal but different strategies to getting there and different time schedules.

This is true for our personal development as well.  It is easy to look at your someone you know or a close friend who is on a similar journey to you and judge your own progress against their progress.  The problem with comparison is that it does not consider those different strategies, time schedules and variable factors.

Often what we see or what is visible in our life does not reflect the progress we are making inside.  So much of the progress we make as we develop our character and learn and lean into God is under the surface.  We might spend a long time in the planning and preparation stage and be working hard on ourselves, or a project or a goal and not see any fruit YET.  It can take time to see the change. 

Sometimes that fruit can come in suddenly and it looks to those around you as it happened overnight.  Suddenly you have changed or succeed or achieved something but, that preparation work has been going on for a while. 

We are all a ‘Work in progress’.  We are an unfinished project that is still being added to or developed.  In Philippians 1:6 Paul wrote ‘I am sure that God who began the good work in you will keep on working in you until the day Jesus Christ comes again’.  Paul knew that we are a work in progress and that God would keep working on us, in us and through us.

Set your own progress schedule with God leading the way.  Focus on your own development, do not compare yourself to others, do not feel like a failure because you are not going quick enough.  Gods timing and direction will be perfect.  After all, God is the ultimate master builder. 

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”

Sophia Bush

Just in case

On a recent family holiday, I realised I had over packed, once again. I had way too much stuff and way more than we could possibly need. I had clothes for winter and summer conditions and everything in between, good clothes in case we went out, work out clothes in case I went for a run (I didn’t) and spares of everything JUST IN CASE!

It made me realise how much I prepare for ‘just in case’ and the stuff that I have accumulated on my journey through life.  It is good to be prepared and sensible but often this translate into our emotional and spiritual lives well.  There are so many emotional bags I have collected and keep inside, afraid to let go because of ‘just in case’.  How much of this stuff is preventing my spiritual growth and my reliance on God?

When Jesus sent the disciples out to share the good news in Matthew 10, he sent them out in groups of two but without anything and they were instructed not to take any provisions with them.  They were sent out and told to rely on the goodness of strangers and on Gods provision.  I bet they had wanted to take a few spare pairs of shoes or some food or in least a drink bottle, just in case.  But had they done that, they would not have experienced God’s miracles of provision or learnt valuable lessons in trust.

Setting aside money or savings for a rainy day or taking a raincoat with you on a cloudy day is not being unfaithful or untrusting but in fact quite sensible.  It is not these things in themselves that are wrong, but when they become our full reliance, our trust, our security instead of God, we are missing out on the miracles and the opportunities.

In an emotional sense, my ‘just in case’ reasoning leads me to withhold just a little bit of my energy or my time or my heart from God and from following the plans God has for me with 100%.  ‘Just in case’ is protection and comes from doubt that maybe God will not come through when it matters or perhaps Gods plans will not work out the way I want them too.

When Jesus sent the disciples they were not promised everything would be rosy, in fact they were told they would be rejected, kicked out, ignored by the people, but they would also have their basic physical needs meet and would perform miracles, cast out demons and heal the sick.  When they returned, they told of all the amazing things that had happened. I would have loved to hear those stories, faith building testimonies of God’s love and faithfulness.

When you set aside your spiritual ‘just in case’ and wholeheartedly rely and trust on God to keep His promises, to care for you and know what is best for you, you will see miracles, have an impact on the world around you and collect your own stories of Gods faithfulness and love.

“Don’t worry about your future. God knows you completely, accepts you unconditionally and loves you wholeheartedly. You can trust Him”

Nicky Gumbel