Lessons from a BIG Toe

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The Nehemiah Project


(Blog by Scott Underwood)

I have a confession to make – from time to time I suffer from gout. For the unfamiliar, gout is a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in joints. For the afflicted, it sometimes presents itself in unusual ways. For me, it makes the big toe on my right foot hurt like crazy. So what’s the big deal? It’s just one toe, right? Wrong.

Because my toe hurts so much and can’t be bent when it is flaring up, putting on a shoe really hurts and walking is painful. If I am required to walk, I have to alter my gait so much that it impacts the rest of my right leg and my body.

If my hands want to go and serve my neighbor or the rest of my body wants to go visit someone in need, my big toe says no. Because part of my body is sick, my whole body is sick. It doesn’t matter that 95% of my body is healthy – the effectiveness of my whole body is impacted by one part that is not healthy or working properly.

If thinking about my big toe is unappealing to you (which I understand), try this instead from 1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 . . .

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 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? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

If we choose foolishly (and sinfully) to disregard the previous scripture and instead choose to evaluate body parts (people) with a worldly attitude of “what does this person bring to the table?”, God’s word admonishes us further. The ones we often value the least, God values the most.

  • “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Luke 18:16)
  • “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1: 27)
  • “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (I Corinthians 1:28-29)

Still think God doesn’t care about each and every person – the healthy toes and the less healthy ones? I will leave you with this from Luke 15: 3-7  (and the words are red because they are the words of Jesus) –

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”      

Let’s simply have the same attitude as Jesus.

To read more about the Nehemiah Project, click HERE.

On September 25th Pastor Jerry Ingalls will be preaching on Nehemiah 3: Start Where You Sit!

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