Lately I’ve been busy trying to do everything. I’ve been writing these hair-brained lists of callings that I think are important for me as a Christian: be diligent at work, maintain close relationships with Christian friends, evangelize, exercise, read my Bible, serve the Church, and the list goes on and on. On top of that, I want to be a global missionary (afterall, I’m writing a blog on the topic). So, at the end of the day, when I realize that not all those things can be done excellently at one given moment in time, I feel desperately as if I’m failing. There are too many important things to be done in the world by one easily-distracted Christian.
Which is why I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when the Apostle Paul reminded me of the Body of Christ: “As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:20). God never intended for me to do it alone. He created me to be a part of a larger whole, with many different parts; parts that are capable of serving him in many different ways.
I think missionaries are a lot like the skin of the Body of Christ. They represent Him to the outside world; they perceive needs through close contact; and they communicate love through warmth and compliancy. God has specially called people like Margie Grainger, Mo & Jo Morrison, and Heather Moore to be on the outside edge of his Body in the world. Often, I’m tempted to resent the fact that God has not made me the skin in this season of my life. I think, “Because I’m not the skin, I do not belong to the body.” But this is not the spirit I should have as a Christian! Afterall, if we were all the same part, where would the body be?
I learned something interesting about skin this week that helps me understand what it might look like for me to be a global missionary from home. Buried deep beneath the surface of the skin are cells called “corpuscles.” The job of the corpuscles is to reverberate the sense of touch deeper into the body so that the activities on the surface are felt by many cells. I like this, because it reminds me that someone needs to be doing the important job of keep the skin in touch with the rest of the body, and vice versa. I can read blogs and support letters so that I am in tune with the needs of the outside world, and I can send resources so that the skin is equipped to reach out and meet those needs through direct contact.
For those of you who have been following along with me — who feel as if God has called you to be a global missionary but has also called you to stay at home — maybe we can imagine our role in the body as corpuscles, communicating to the body about what is going on at it’s edge. Let’s not be discouraged about the role we’ve been given, but rather let’s honour the body by playing our role well.
I’m encouraged when I remember that Jesus, during his ministry here on earth, never flew on a jet plane. He never touched the Celts, or the Chinese, or the Aztecs. He focused simply on the task he’d been given, and on the people who surrounded him each day. But of course, his love and service reached people all over the globe. Let Him be our example as we figure out what it means to be the part of the body that God has made us to be, and to be that part with all our heart.