Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ouch My Toe

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

1 Corinthians 12:14-16 (NIV1984)

 14 Now the body is not made up 
of one part but of many.  
15 If the foot should say, 
“Because I am not a hand, 
I do not belong to the body,
” it would not for that reason 
cease to be part of the body. 
16 And if the ear should say, 
“Because I am not an eye, 
I do not belong to the body,” 
it would not for that reason 
cease to be part of the body. 



I don't think about my toes very often. They do their job of supporting my body and allowing me to walk but I don't pay a lot of attention to them other then to trim my toe nails from time to time. They don't even cross my thoughts unless there is a problem. If they are cold, I notice and will do something to warm them up. So you must be wondering why, I am writing about my toes today?


My left foot middle toe was fine when I went to bed last night and when I got up this morning it feels as if I kicked a brick wall. Maybe I did kick the wall while I was sleeping. My husband will read this and laugh and be glad he was working and not in bed being kicked by me. I don't remember kicking anything but my point is that we can take things for granted when everything is working. When something hurts it becomes a part of your thoughts. You wonder what you did to hurt it, you wonder what can I do to fix it. In general you are aware of it until it stops hurting.

There are those who serve in the body of Christ that go largely un-noticed unless something goes wrong. Take for example the tec folks who run sound or lights or video for your church service.
You probably have no idea who's even back there serving unless your worship is interrupted by a bit of audio feed back, or glitch in the video, or those darn typos on a song slides. I spend a lot of time with the tec team and I am very thankful for all their hard work. Most people have no idea how much stress that team can be under to make the survice run smoothly. I would encourage you to remember to pray for those folks. I train the folks that serve in that capacity to strive to be un-noticed.  Oswald Chambers writes "It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God's Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable."

So I am thanking God for my toe. I am sorry that it hurts and I am trying to help it feel better.  I in yesterdays post that I had a particularly difficult Sunday. I was trying to get myself pulled back together before the servie and I was sitting in the prayer loft praying. There was a wonderful friend who must have noticed that I was not myself. He did not need to ask what my deal was but simply put his hand on my head and silently prayed for me. That meant a lot to me. On my good days I try to be aware of the people around me who are struggling and to reach out to them and pray for them, or encourage them. Even in my mess that day I did pull it together to do my jobs and did pray with some people. I am always surprised when God uses me in spite of my own internal mess. There are many days that God uses my own brokenness to connect with the need of some person who comes for prayer in ways that amaze me. Its almost like what I have gone through and wrestled with during the week has prepared me to be able to know how to pray.  My point here is not - Oh look at Margot she is sooooooo spiritual. My point is that God wants to use you where you are. If we can get beyond our selves to see the needs of others around us God will use even our brokenness to touch others. I have noticed when I am in such a condition and I push beyond my own pain and begin praying for someone else that as God pours His Spirit through me to that other person that He also does a work of healing in me as well in that moment. I can't begin to tell you how often it happens that the people God brings to me to pray for are dealing with stuff that I have had to deal with during the week. It is still fresh and raw and they always seem surprised that I understand how to pray for them. I simply pray what God puts on my heart as I lay my hands on them. I don't try to analize or figure it out - I just go with it and trust the Holy Spirit. I pray for them how I would want to be prayed for.

I think it is also the mercy of God that on a day when I was struggling that someone came up to me after the service and thanked me for praying for people and made a point to tell me how I was hearing from God because I had prayed very specifically what those people had needed with out knowing anything about their situation. This person had heard several of his friends share about how God had used me to touch them and made a point to come and thank and encourge me. That was a gift and a blessing to me because I was feeling so messed up at that point. I needed encouraged in that moment.  To know that God still can use us even when we look at ourselves and feel like we are a mess is humbling and amazing. Its when I know that its not my own strength or togetherness that matters but God's Spirit working in and through me. Kent Henry once said that "we are carriers and couriers of God's presence". We are the pitcher from which living water is poured out to the thirsty.

I guess I have gotten side tracked a bit and have gone from toes to prayer. In some ways not that far because whatever your gift may happen to be - even if it goes largely unnoticed you are a vital and needed part of the body of Christ. Your gifts may be very different than mine but yours are needed and just like me you may have a bad day where you don't feel like you have much to offer. God can use you on those days too. On those hard days, I try not to spin out of control and I do my best to press into Gods presence to allow Him to minister to me. I don't always get myself back on track sometimes I need others in the body to reach out to me. To pray for me, or to hold my feet to the fire and remind me to not put of dealing with things that need dealt with. I need people to share with me that God has used me to touch thier lives. I often have no clue the work that God does in someones life or how something I have said or written has spurred someone on to take a step of faith, or to strive to know Jesus more.  I am generally not to worried about the out come, I leave that up to God and work on being obedient and faithful to use the gifts that God has given me to use. We all need to be encouraged, and to know that what we are doing by faith is making an differene.

I am finding in my journey to be more open and transparant that there are times when I need to stop trying to hold it all together and reach out to others in the body and allow them to use thier gifts to minister to me. It is so much easer to be on the giving out side of things for me and much harder to admit my own need. I am very thankful for the people in my life that are there for me on those hard days. I am thankful for my kids who come and snuggle near me on the couch, and my husband who trys to stay out of my way and allows me to process through stuff, for friends who pray. I am thankful for those who tell me I need to let them know when I'm in trouble, that I can call them for prayer even if it is in the middle of the night. I am thankful for those who see through me and can tell in an instant that something is wrong. I am thankful for my pastor who tells me I don't know what to tell you Margot but I'll pray. These are all gifts of Gods grace, and people allowing the love and compassion of Jesus to flow through them. It is a beautiful thing to be touched by Jesus through the body of Christ.

So I am thankful for the hands and feet, the ears and the eyes, and the mouths and all the amazing ways that God pours out His love through His people.  Most churches are not purfect - they all have problems because they are made up of people with problems. We bump and rub the rough edges off of each other. Just like families need to agree to work things out, so do churches of people need to decide that we won't just leave and go somewhere else but we will work through our issues and support and be there for each other. It is when the church or a family begins to function and value each other that people on the outside begin to know we are Christians by our love.

Prayer:
Dear Lord,
I pray for the hurting toes in the body of Christ. I pray that you will send hands to care for them. I pray for those who are eyes to see, that they would step up and be watchmen on the walls. I pray for the ears to be listening to what the Spirit is saying and to have the courage to tell the body, for mouths that would speaks the truth in love. I pray that whatever part we may each have to play that we would remember to value each other and to be thankful that God has brought us together for His plans and purposes.





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