If you’ve done any running you know there’s a lot of techniques out there. Get the right shoes, have the right form, relax your arms, that sort of thing.
I try to run regularly. Sometimes I pay attention to these things and sometimes I don’t. This particular day I did. I noticed toward the end of my route that I used my arms more than usual. Pumping them back and forth in sync with the rhythm of my body propelled me along faster without tiring out as quickly as in previous days.
I immediately thought of the body of Christ. When the arm swings in unison with the legs running, in time with the heart beating, the breath going in and out of the lungs, the feet pounding the surface at just the right time and angle – the body is working smoothly and effectively.
On the other hand, when the arm says, “No, I want to swing at this pace”, while the legs are running in another, and the breath is exhaling and inhaling at all the wrong increments, running is difficult, painful and exhausting.
Our side hurts because the diaphragm is stressed and oxygen is strangled. Our knees have unnecessary pressure hitting them and our feet become calloused from rubbing against the shoes in places not designed to be rubbed against! All of this is due to the members of the body working out of sync. They are actually against one another rather than for each other.
I have experienced these scenarios in the body of Christ. I probably even contribute to them.
Unfortunately, I can easily be that arm that thinks it can swing at whatever pace it wants to. Or, I can be part of that body that thinks it can run just fine without any arms. Sometimes, I think pumping my arms back and forth looks silly. I don’t really need those arms. I’m just fine without them. But that’s not true, as my run that day proved to me.
I long to be apart of a body where the members work together. A body where we move to the same rhythm. When we can let someone else lead or set the pace, and we adjust our coordinating functions in line with them.
I long to be that member who listens for the rhythm and joins in how I can.
This kind of body is like a jog that is refreshing, not completely exhausting. I know, some of you who don’t enjoy running can’t follow this line, but can you imagine it?
You can imagine how exhausting it is when everyone wants to lead, to have the idea that goes, to set the pace, and then sulk when the feet get to walk, the legs to support the torso and the eyes get to see things the ears didn’t!
Why do we fight over these things?
We are the body of Christ. When unbelievers look at us, we want them to long to know our Jesus. We want them to see something different in us that they don’t see in the world around them every day. No, we’re not perfect, so we can stop acting like it!
Christ gave us the job to be His Ambassadors. An Ambassador is an official representative from one country sent to represent that country to a foreign country. We represent Jesus to those who may not know Him. Those people we work with, play soccer with, grocery shop with, watch movies with and so on.
Even if your job feels like the heel or the elbow or a fingernail, that job is important! Have you ever tried to walk without a heel? Wouldn’t work! Heels have tough skin. They support the back. They aren’t easily damaged or offended.
What would our fingers looks like with no nail? We couldn’t scratch a mosquito bite.
Without an elbow our arms would just be stiff. We couldn’t give someone a hug. Imagine that!
So where are you? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? How are you helping the body? And remember, yes, the body includes where you go on Sunday, but it does not exclude others outside those doors. Believers everywhere make up His body, regardless of denominations or any other dividing line.
Expensive shoes and techniques have their place in running, but in the Body what’s most important is that we move in sync with each other as directed by the Head, which is Christ and bring His message of hope and deliverance to the world.