A Pebble in the Shoe

As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice

A Pebble in the Shoe

 

            Ever had the misfortune of getting a pebble in your shoe?  If it’s in the toe area, it can be very bothersome.  But let that pebble make its way to your heel, and the situation can turn extreme.  You can’t wait to sit down, remove your shoe, and shake the annoyance back onto the ground where it belongs.

            The same holds true with a blister.  I can remember NOT following the advice of the drill sergeant (I know this doesn’t surprise some of you that know me) and fill my boots with water the night before our first “road march” during basic training.  Filling the laced-up boot with water softens the leather, and it dries while you are using them the next day on your basic training “nature walk.”  By the time we returned to our company area at the end of the march, I and a lot of others who did not heed the advice were limping from the excruciating pain in our feet.  The limping was so severe it caused the joints in my knees to hurt, as well as my hips for trying to compensate for the blisters by putting less pressure on the blistered foot.  Limping for miles actually caused all the joints from the ground up the be “out of whack.”

            Just as with our bodies, the church must have all its parts working efficiently to be an effective witness in the community it serves.  Let a “pebble” get in the shoe and begins to cause an immediate source of pain.  Let a “rub” between people go unsolved, and a blister will form.  Even when the rub is attended to, the area over the blister forms a thickness of skin to help prevent a blister-causing irritation in the future.

            When we have unresolved disagreements in the church, they can lead to blisters forming in the congregation.  Even when the disagreement subsides, as with the shrinking of the blister, a tougher skin covering forms over our hearts to protect it from such irritations in the future.  Is this a true forgiveness mindset we should have?

            Several churches have split because of such “blisters” in their congregation.  They seem to never get past their differences.  Frankly, instead of focusing on our similarities, we should be celebrating our differences!

            Just as with our bodies, the church is made up of different parts.  Each body part functions as God intends and the body works great.  If each person functions as God intends them to in the church by using the spiritual gifts given them, the church becomes a beacon of hope and love for those who need it.

            God leads people to different churches because He knows the gifts He gave them, and where those gifts can be best utilized to help a congregation.  The greatest thing we can do is use the gifts given to us, and listen to the Master’s directions through the Holy Spirit.

            Let’s all fill our boots with water and prepare for the march ahead.  If we do, God will soften the way, and form our boots to fit perfectly around our feet!