May 29, 2011
Accepting Our Assignments
“If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body?” (1 Corinthians 12:15,16).
Despite our tendency to want someone else’s role, we each need to accept the assignments in life that we ourselves have been given. We can’t excuse ourselves from our obligations simply because we lack someone else’s abilities. This is especially important to remember if we’re members of the body of Christ. If we’re a “foot,” for example, we must not say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body.” In Christ, it is God who has apportioned the various abilities: “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:18). It is not good to question God’s organization of the body.
The “body” is an apt metaphor for Christ’s followers because a human body is an organism where each member is needed. Some parts of the body seem to get more publicity, but no part is without an important use. And it is when all of the parts work together healthily that the body functions as it was intended to function. Christ, of course, is the head, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
Humility means that we try to see ourselves just as God sees us. When we do this, we will not think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3), but neither will we think too lowly of ourselves. It is just as wrong to deny our abilities and dodge our duties as it is to be poisoned with pride. God is not pleased when we complain about the assignments that God has given us. And it is not humility but false humility that causes us to “badmouth” ourselves and the tools that are in our toolbox. In truth, God has given to each of us the abilities that God has because those are the resources we need to do the work that belongs to us – right where we are! It’s tempting to think that we could do a better job if we occupied someone else’s place, but that is probably not true. If we won’t serve Christ where we are, then we wouldn’t serve Him anywhere else.
True humility consists in being satisfied with what we are asked to do.
“Do your assigned task with good cheer” (Teresa of Avila).