Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Instruments in the Artist's Hands

In an artist's workshop there are many tools used for so many different things. There are multitudes of papers, paintbrushes, pencils, paints, paintbrush holders, tape, paper towels, cups for holding water, and even a desk on which to paint. All these things are necessary to the artist who is creating something beautiful, something of worth.

I was thinking of the verses in 1 Corinthians this morning about wanting to be what you're not created to be. What if the tape wanted to be a paintbrush and said, "I will not serve the artist unless I can do what the paintbrush does." Or, the desk said, "I will not serve the artist unless I can do what the paint does, after all the paint has the most prestigious job." OK... it's absurd I know, but you get the idea. Here is how it reads in The Message:

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.

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?

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.

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.

1 Corinthians 12:14-27

I hope you see in this somewhere your own significance and the importance you have, whatever your gifts or talents or place, in the Artist's Hands.


  1. That is a great post Christi. I don't read the Message Bible but that is an interesting take on the chapter in Corinthians.


  2. How true that is! Peace comes from being what God created you to be.
    I tell my grandgirls, "God doesn't make mistakes. Every part is important to your whole being and what makes you special".

    hugs to you,