I was discouraged about the mission trip to Antigua that I volunteered for in 2007. The small parts that I had been assigned in the presentation to the elementary school students did not go well. They were not engaged in the introductory monologue that I had been instructed to give. My light bulb object lesson was a flop when given in bright tropical sunshine. Not only that, but one of the leaders made a critical remark about the way that I had manipulated my puppet. I envied the ones who were in a choreographed dance routine. That seemed up front and more important, but I wasn’t picked for that role. What did my small parts matter anyway? I was feeling really sorry for myself.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12 NLT)
At a Christmas concert about three weeks later, my own personal light bulb went on, and my thinking was shaken up, like the earthquake that we had experienced while in Antigua.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the whole effect and the glorious sound of the symphony orchestra before me. Gradually, as I listened and observed, I began noticing individual instruments. Each instrument had its own characteristics, and contributed a certain kind of music to accompany the featured musician, Michael W. Smith. Some unusual instruments had very small parts, and weren’t used much, like the bongo drum, the tambourine, and strangely enough, jingle bells and a triangle. I suddenly realized the reason for their tinkling presence: What would the song Jingle Bells be without them?
My own “Aha!” moment came. God showed me that my small parts in the presentation in Antigua were like the instruments in the symphony orchestra. He spoke to my heart, “You were not just a drop in the bucket, but an important part of the whole.” I got it!
“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.” (1 Corinthians 12:18 NLT)
My first monologue and object lesson had had no effect by themselves, even though over the course of the week, I’d had more success in presenting them. They were not meant to be featured apart from the other parts of the presentation. What mattered was the whole presentation of the gospel to the schools. That was deemed to be a success in the eyes of those planning the mission trip.
“The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.” (1 Corinthians 12:21-22 NLT)
The lesson to all of us is just that. We are all necessary to the furtherance of the gospel, and we all contribute to the success of God’s plan. Are you willing to be just a jingle bell?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for reminding us that we don’t all have to be bright light bulbs in the centre of the stage. Thank You for reminding us that we all have a part to play in the body of Christ, and it is You Who determines how our gifts are to be used. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Alice Burnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.