Sometimes you just have to be the toenail

Today I saw an intriguing sight at the bird feeder that quickly changed to shock. A sparrow had gotten its little leg caught between the two “legs” of the shepherd’s crook that holds up the bird feeder. The poor bird was dangling upside down, and its leg was really caught tightly. Nathan approached the bird from behind while I used a toy boat to support the weight of the bird until we could figure out how best to free it.

With a gentle but firm lift and tug, we were able to free the bird. I was thankful to see it was able to fly over to the nearest window sill, but its little foot was just dangling. Useless.

We tried to get closer to see if there was anything we needed or could do to help it, but of course it flew away immediately. Nathan saw it perched on a branch on one foot. That had been my first thought–what would happen if the bird was unable to perch…no eating, no drinking…birds are very dependent on their legs and feet for their survival. So often we think it is the pair of wings that keeps the bird safe, but just like humans, they need full function of their bodies to have a good chance at living a healthy life.

I was reminded of the importance of our bodies–physical and spiritual. We function so much better when we are whole and healthy. When we are able to live as we were designed to live. When I broke my foot, I missed having a healthy, strong foot. I STILL miss that healthy foot. This is the first year since I got my own hardware implanted in my foot that I have not re-injured said foot. Believe me, I am THANKFUL for my foot, especially when it isn’t hurting. Like that little sparrow, my foot has its own jobs to do so that I can function according to the Designer’s plan.

Have you ever stubbed your toe? Slammed your finger in a door? Had a toothache? Lost a toenail? At those moments, did you tell yourself you never really needed that appendage anyway? I DOUBT that most sincerely. But what happens with our spiritual gifts? Do we say we don’t have the “special” gift so we aren’t as useful? Is that how God designed the spiritual body to function? No. During a discussion with a co-worker one day, she made a tremendous observation: “Someone has to be the toenail. Might as well be me.” That is the way we should look at the gift(s) we receive from the Holy Spirit.

As I have thought of that little bird throughout the day, these verses came to mind. Hope they encourage you as well.

I Corinthians 12:12-27

12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body.21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.


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