I have a long and painful history with my big toes. When God formed me in my mother’s womb, he gave me my sweet grandmother’s stubby toes and then put a rather large one on the end. I’m ok with having my sweet grandmother’s feet, hopefully I will be like her in years to come, but I have to admit that I’ve never quite gotten over how my toes turned out. For years, my sister taunted my “Big” big toe and called it :::sigh::: my “pickle toe” because it reminds her of a dill pickle. To this day, she still gets a good laugh at my toe’s expense and my meanie brother has no problem joining in the frivolity. They can laugh, but darn it, I need these big toes. I learned just how much I need them one hot summer day a few years ago in the country of Hungary in a small town called Sopron.
I was on a mission trip with several teenagers and college students from my church. Our journey there was epic, but that is a story for another day. We were leading an English camp, teaching young children and several teenagers who spoke excellent English how to carry on conversations in English and play American games like kickball. After doing something amazing on the kickball field, I ran toward my friend and teammate to get some high-five action. In my excitement, I didn’t watch where my feet were going and therefore failed to notice the 2-inch wall of concrete that encircled the running track that ran around the perimeter of the blacktop. My poor big toe ran straight into that 2-inch wall at breakneck speeds and I went flying through the air.
I walked the rest of the week on that sprained toe. You’ve never really experienced Budapest at night until you have hobbled up and down every steep hill your group leader can find. I learned how much I need that abnormally large big toe on that hot summer day in Hungary, and I am slowly coming to terms with how God knit me together.
So what is the point? You ask. You are slightly amused and more than slightly repulsed. Who talks about big toes? If you are like me and you hate feet (especially boy feet) than you stopped reading after you saw the title and had to go drink something to settle your stomach a little. I”m talking about my big toe because lately I’ve been struggling more than a little bit with finding where I fit in the Body of Christ. Let’s be honest, who are the two types of people who get to be the Rock Stars of the church? Yes, the musicians and the pastor/speakers. These guys and gals, they get to be cool parts– like the eyes or the naturally black emo hair. The guy that leads the praise band isn’t the webby parts between your fingers or the wrinkly skin on your knees, he’s somewhere on the face where everyone can see him.
I’m not ok with that. I’m not ok with NOT being the rock star. I mean, hey, I play guitar. I used to be the “girl that plays guitar” at my small college and I was in a “band” and wow I was the STUFF. I used to teach Sunday School and was in on all the inside stuff that happened at my church. I was pretty sure that I was something special in the Body of Christ. Things changed a little bit though, I was ill for a while, I got married and overwhelmed with a full-time job, I had to stop being the rock star and step back for a while. So, I’m not the musician/Sunday School teacher/ultra-amazing worker bee and I’m pretty sure that God is telling me to be ok with that. We studied Romans 12:1-8 last night, and once again I was amazed at my limited knowledge of a familiar passage. Here is a quick summary with my accompanying thoughts as I read them:
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God vs.1 (Ok, heard that a million times)
Do not be conformed to this world vs. 2 (Yes, very familiar)
For I say to everyone not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think vs.3 (Ok, so I never put those verses together, perhaps God is telling me to die to myself?)
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us vs. 4-5 (So God, are you saying that it’s wrong for me to be jealous of the rock stars and that I should be content to be and do what you want for me right now??)
I think I’m the Big Toe.
Maybe I’m not the eyes, or the mouth or the hair. Maybe I’m not the most important part or the prettiest. I might just be a part that quietly does its job to keep the Body working. I might just be a part that no one thinks is important until that part shirks its duty and quits working. When I sprained my big toe, my whole body suffered. The bones and muscles in my foot had to make up for the lost stability and movement. My entire leg ached from having to walk differently. In the same way, the Body suffers if I refuse to do my small part and insist on taking someone else’s.
I think that I’m the Big Toe, and I think that I’m learning to be ok with that.