This may be hard to believe, but sometimes I go weeks without thinking about the big toe on my left foot.
And then one day, a wrenching pain will originate at the toe and shoot its way up nerve pathways to my brain, and everything with the exception of my internal organs, stops.
Years ago, when I mentioned this at a health physical, some insensitive medico cheerily replied,
“Oh, it’s probably arthritis. You’re getting old, you know!”
It’s no wonder I avoid these people.
But back to my toe — it’s really not a major part of my body, and for the most part, I don’t think about relying upon it too much. I mean, most of my day is spent looking at things, listening, keyboarding, knitting — my eyes, my ears, my hands — they get my primary attention and love.
And yet, when the toe cries out, everything revolves around it, because it really does have an essential function in my balance and ability to walk, jump, and dance, something I don’t realize until it’s feeling sulky.
Upshot? Every part of our body is important in its own way, and while we may use some parts more than others, we don’t willingly damage, disparage, ignore, or dispense with any of the rest.
Within the body of Christ, however, we do this all the time.
If you attend a church regularly, you can probably readily identify the people who think that they are the eyes and the ears and the hands, and it’s relatively easy to pick out the Mouths, but the rest of us in this environment, the toes and belly buttons and elbows, are hidden in shoes and covered by shirt fronts and stuffed into sleeves, where we quietly do the things that we do.
As the Apostle Paul phrases it in Ephesians, the Head is Christ, and the rest of us form a body that, “joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
If it’s difficult being a toe, can you imagine what it’s like to be an unnamed ligament?
And yet we all are, at some point, depending upon the circumstances. Some of us who spend a lot of time stuffed into an athletic shoe have our moments to be eyes, and knees, noses, and even Mouths.
In our efforts to feel useful and ascribe meaning to our lives, we too often forget that we are complex human beings, with complex lives and skills, and shortchange ourselves by identifying ourselves (or worse, letting someone else identify us) as being gifted in a limited, particular “ministry,” resulting that we box ourselves in being, permanently, a toe.
You have many gifts, many abilities, many good works to perform that will sometime require that you use your hands, your quads, your rib cage, your shoulder blade, and when it’s your turn to be an eye or an ear or a Mouth, don’t forget that there are also times that you will be a toe. Rejoice in this.
When you finish reading this article, try something: get up and walk twenty steps, focusing your thoughts on your toes — big one as well as the other four piggies. Do you feel what they’re doing to enable you to walk?
Now close your eyes and take a few more steps — bet you’re even more aware of your toes.
They’re pretty important.
All of the artwork in my articles is by Steve Henderson, the Norwegian Artist, and it may be found at the following links:
- Original Paintings
- Signed Limited Edition Prints
- Inspirational Posters
- Open Edition Licensed Prints at Great Big Canvas
- Open Edition Licensed Prints at Light in the Box