An Important Part Of The Whole

In Sunday School last week, our class leader closed with words that were chewy to me.  See, we had been talking about our spiritual gifts, things that God had given each of us.  Everyone has one you know – gifts of music, art, a love for teaching…..  Our class is primarily comprised of educators.  To have the patience and passion to teach elementary school aged children is definitely a gift.  I was not blessed with that one.  Others in our church are gifted with financial abilities – accountants, treasurers.  Some are gifted in the profession of physical healing and treatment – doctors, therapists.  We have some who love babies and spend hours keeping the nurseries.  We have others who are gifted mechanically, donating their time and skills to improving the church campus, building things.

I do not fit in any of the above categories.  But our Sunday School lesson was about “everybody having a gift they can use to witness to others in growing God’s Kingdom”.  We talked about how all these different gifts – skill sets – help us all make up the body of Christ.


The body?
As in parts of Christ?
Come on ,  you’ve heard that before.
“It takes five fingers to make a hand.”

I was left wondering, “what part, exactly, am I?”

I’m not an educator, and although I do enjoy coloring and have an eye for graphics, I am no artist.  I do not have the patience to rock babies for a morning or afternoon of church services.  I’m not a doctor.  Not a lawyer.  Not an accountant.

Certainly all of THOSE gifted persons make up the elite parts of the body.

I work a regular, hourly-paid office job.  I spend my time away from work checking elementary grade homework and enforcing reading minutes.  Cooking dinner.  Washing clothes.  For fun, I read.  Play Scrabble.  Write.

I came to the conclusion that I must be something like the toenail of the body of Christ.  A small, insignificant part.  Barely noticeable.

Those were my thoughts.  But I wasn’t allowed to dwell on this long before God revealed my importance.

He reminded me of a time when my big toenail was ripped off.  Ooooooo.    I was barefoot, moving furniture around in my young son’s bedroom when that Little Tykes toybox slid across the top of my foot.   Losing a toenail from a big toe is not a temporary handicap.  It took months – MONTHS – for the toenail to heal.  That little thing was the most painful injury I had ever experienced.  I couldn’t wear a regular shoe for weeks.  Every time I stepped on that foot, I felt the injury – for months!  When I wasn’t on my feet, I felt the injury throbbing, begging for my attention.

Yes, the toenail is an important part of our whole.  Do not underestimate the value of it.  Often overlooked, with little attention, in it’s absence, you become keenly aware of it’s importance.

I am proud to be the toenail in the body of Christ.  And I realize now that my place is no less and no more important than all the other wonderful, unique parts of the body.  Together, we make one very cool whole.

Now I’m praying about how I can use my very unique gifts to build His Kingdom.  My eye for the unusual, for color, for plumb lines.  My enthusiasm for word games and reading.  My desire to share His glory and grace with others.  I know that I am a useful part of The Body of Christ.

And now, you know the rest of the story behind the toenail.
What’s your place in the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m curious…how have you lived in to your “toenail-ness”? How have you used your “eye for the unusual, for color, for plumb lines. My enthusiasm for word games and reading. My desire to share His glory and grace with others. “?

    Certainly this blog is a gift. Thanks for sharing.


    • Thank you for your question and kind comment. I’m still praying about my “toe-nailness” and for God to open doors for me to share Christ with others. I realize that although I have “the eye for the unusual, for color, for plumb lines….”, hence this being my comfort zone, that sometimes we most effectively serve when we step outside of our comfort zone. Through His strength alone, we can become comfortable where we would normally be uncomfortable. In doing this, my obedience is certainly being stretched and exercised.

      Your stumbling upon this blog made my day! Blessings to you during this most precious season.


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