About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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 When A Finger Becomes An Eye


1 Corinthians 12:27 reads:


"If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?"


The apostle Paul, a spiritual man having many visions and revelations was also a man of intellectual brilliance and plain old common sense.  I see this balance in 1 Corinthians 12.  In verse 27 he called the church "Christ's body," and thus, compared the church to a human body.  As with a human body, he noted that each member of Christ's body has a distinct ministry calling.  Not all are eyes, something I am well familiar with.


Those with 20/20 vision may not realize this but those of us who are blind, or legally blind as I am, use our fingers as eyes, as is the case with Braille.  In order for my brain to picture what my eyes cannot properly see, my fingers attempt to be my eyes.  They feel what I can't see in the hope of sending some kind of signal to my brain where my brain tries to create a mental image.  This is helpful, but it does have its problems. 


Such a problem recently arose when I was trimming the grass where our lawn meets our flower garden.  A sighted person might use a weed trimmer to trim the edge of his lawn, but not me.  If I stand with trimmer in hand, I can't see where it contacts the grass.  If I proceed to trim, I will rip up the lawn.  To avoid that, I get down on my knees and trim the edge of the lawn with a pair of scissors.  I do something similar when I prepare a meal.  I use the same old dull knife I've used for fifty years to slice food.  If I use a sharp knife, I'll lose a finger.   


Even while on my knees, I can't see the blades of grass well enough to make a clean cut with my scissors, and that is when my fingers become my eyes.  They grab the grass to be cut while the scissors are supposed, emphasis on the word "supposed," to cut the grass in my fingers.  It's called "cutting grass by faith and not by sight," an alternative rendering of Romans 1:17.  It usually works, except for last week when a few blades of grass were immersed in a baptism of my blood.  Don't worry.  I didn't die.  I still have my finger, but it does hurt.  In terms of being Biblically balanced, living by faith does not mean you disregard the realities of sight.         


I say all of the above to say this.  My body appreciates my fingers attempting to be my eyes, but that's not the job of my fingers.  Fingers, no matter how hard they try, can never replace eyes, and in part, that is Paul's point.  Not everyone in the Body of Christ has the same talents and ministry calling.  When someone fails to exercise his ministry, that will inevitably force someone else to fulfill that ministry, something to which he has not been called nor has the ability to successfully accomplish.  That is problematic.  It can do more harm than good, which is sometimes seen when a messy baptism of blood, so to speak, explodes in one corner of the church. 


Paul's instructions in 1 Corinthians 12 are just as relevant for us as they were to the dysfunctional church in Corinth.  Each believer has distinct God-given talents and a God-appointed ministry.  None are excluded.  Church works best when we all exercise our personalized ministry, whether that is a finger, an eye, an ear, or an armpit.  One thing is sure.  A finger will never effectively replace an eye, and I can attest to that.


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