As I am writing this, I am sitting in a coffee house, listening to music from the ‘90s (“I Swear” by All for One), drinking a cup of $6.00 (slightly exaggerated for dramatic emphasis) cappuccino that tastes more like $2.25, and I am longing for my own coffee pot that I purchased from the bargain store for $14.99. Don’t do the math—it is rather depressing. Speaking of my coffee maker, I would like to tell you a story about how I made a pot of grinds, and yes, there is a spiritual application. But we will get to that, in time.
I was getting my coffee maker all set up for the next morning so I could just hit the button and in about fifteen minutes have a fresh pot of piping hot coffee. I’ve literally rehearsed this process hundreds of times, so I thought it would be fine to brew the pot without the top part of the carafe, since I couldn’t find it after my wife washed it. I checked the draining board, and well, we will just forget to mention that part. The fact that I am an idiot has no connection with that, but anyway.
As I was going through my daily routine, I noticed that the coffee maker was gurgling, which is not normal unless the water reservoir is empty prematurely. As I observed that only six cups had been made, I knew that this time was different than before. I had specifically put ten cups of water in, expecting to get something very close to that in return, only with a dark color and a beautiful smell. Well, such was not the case and as I opened the top of my $14.99 machine, I realized it was indeed an operator error. The top of the carafe is NOT just for style, but it is all about functionality. Without that little black plastic piece, the flow of the coffee was thrown off and 4 cups of coffee grinds and nasty-looking water were overflowing the filter compartment. By the way, my plan to save time was flipped upside down, as I now had to empty out the product I had made: a mess!
I learned an important lesson that day about my coffee pot, but it reminded me of an important spiritual application for the church, which is the body of Christ. First Corinthians 12:14 tells us “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” It is comprised of many members (parts), just like our human body—or in this case, like my coffee maker. Each part plays a vital role in the health and function of the rest of the body. As I have told my congregation in the past, there is no one who is called to be merely an appendix. You can live without an appendix, but attempt to live without a heart and it’s not going to fly! (Now, I realize that one could argue that missing limbs would not prevent a person from living, but this is my story, so I am going to keep my “appendix” analogy).
Many of our problems could be avoided if we would just be content with who God has created us to be and just serve him in that capacity. But in the same way that all the curly haired girls want straight hair and the blondes want to be brunettes, some people bemoan the fact that they cannot do some things that others can do. I was called to be a pastor and I am glad, because there is no way you would want me doing brain surgery on you—trust me! Sometimes I can’t even seem to find my own brain, but that is another story for another day.
A body that had 200 arms would just be creepy! In the same way, the body of Christ is diverse, utilizing various gifts, backgrounds, and denominations. Rather than trying to envy someone because they are doing something that you would rather do, just ask the Lord to show you your custom place in his body and then do it with all your might!
If you feel worthless or insignificant, just look at what is in God’s word. David tells us in Psalm 139:13-14: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” You are valuable, but not only that, you are necessary! God didn’t save you to throw you on the sidelines and watch the rest of the team play; he called you to get in the game and give it your all. But that’s not all—he gives you his strength in order to accomplish his plan for your life.
My crazy coffee pot taught me a lesson that day: every part matters. In the same way, every part of the body of Christ is equally important. I think it’s time to wrap it up because there’s a song on the radio and truthfully, I don’t want it that way (that is, revisiting the ‘90s with the tacky clothes and hairdos like the Backstreet Boys—I don’t miss those days one bit! Of course, skinny jeans aren’t much of an improvement).
Anyway, again I will leave you with this comforting truth: every part matters!