Lessons from my Thumb

romans 12v5

Almost two months ago, I cut my hand with a pair of scissors. It didn’t take any skill or expertise to wound myself. Rather, I was using an incorrect tool to repair my hair dryer. I know. I know. What was I thinking?

I needed stitches because the cut was deep. At the time, the emergency room doctor assured me that my ligaments and tendons were unaffected.

“It will heal fine,” he said.

Well, when I visited my doctor to have him take the stitches out, he noticed immediately that a ligament had been cut. The wound had healed significantly, but underneath the skin, the ligament was severed. As my thumb flexed, the ligament moved with it, but one could now see a ‘bump’ underneath my skin just below the thumb joint, as it ‘rolled’ back and forth.

Thankfully, my left thumb can still move and this new ‘defect’ has not affected my life all that much.  The area is still tender – especially when I bump it into something – but overall I’m doing okay. My thumb is still working and doing what I need it to do. Thank goodness!

As I read Romans 12 today, the verse that caught my attention most this morning was Romans 12:5

So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

This verse struck a chord with me for a few reasons. The first, of course, was that without the other supporting ligaments and tendons in my hand, my thumb would have been rendered useless had it solely relied upon the severed ligament for movement. There are many tendons, ligaments, and bones at work to help my thumb do its necessary work.

Second, the phrase ‘belongs to all the others’ resonated with me as well.

What does the word ‘belongs’ mean in relationship to the body of Christ?

I made a surprising discovery when I opened my Strong’s concordance in search of ’belongs.’ The word ‘belongs’ was not listed for Romans 12:5. This meant there was another wording. I looked up the King James Version of which the Strong’s Concordance is based and this is what I found:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

The word ‘belongs’ is not there!

Instead, the phrase “and every one members one of another” is written.

Belongs means ‘one of another.’

Just as my thumb ligaments, tendons, bones, surrounding skin and other parts are fitted and joined together, mutually dependent upon each other for their designed purpose, so, too, are we as members of Christ’s body. We are fitted and joined together according to the grace, faith, love, and intimate and purposeful design in the body of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior – to accomplish His glorious work on this earth. He is our Head. Together, in Christ, we are mutually dependent upon each other with not only the purpose of honoring and serving Christ, but doing the same for each other.

There is no envy or jealousy – for in truth, a foot’s purpose and placement in the body is radically different and just as needed as the purpose and placement of the nose. Each body part has a unique identity!

There is no pride or conceit. A thumb is intricately designed for a myriad of tasks just as the eye is intricately designed to provide vision and direction. It would be difficult for one to do its job without the other. Each body part is in service to each other.

There is no fear of not being ‘good enough’ because each body part is crucial to the well-being and the intended purpose of the entire body. Each body part is valued and needed by each other.

There is no disjointed connection anywhere in the body. Every body part is connected to the other by design. They are of one another.

What an amazing and heartening picture of what the body of Christ is intended to be on this earth!

To me, it’s not just a matter of belonging now. It’s a matter of being ‘of.’


Yes, of!

In Christ, our being and our purpose is not just a matter of belonging, but a matter of being connected and in union with Christ and His followers. God’s people or what I now understand to be God’s saints make up One body in Christ.  He is the One who unifies, strengthens, empowers, and guides us to live with passion, joy, love, and grace on this earth and in our spheres of influence.

What a confident hope and blessed strength we have in Christ as members of His body! His One Body!

Do we have such a vision, though?

How united is this One body of Christ on earth?

Do we live our lives in mutual dependence and care of one another in One Body?

Do we dedicate our lives in service of one another as part of One Body?

Do we engage in life pursuits for the benefit of others in One Body?

Do we take action when a fellow member of this One Body suffers injury and needs assistance?

Do we see ourselves as members of this One Body – the Body of Jesus Christ – who is our Head?

How we answer these questions is essential to how we live as followers of Christ and how we contribute and care for the lives of others in our sphere of influence. Though we may be many – we are beholden to One in Christ.

For me, I want to live with this vision of who I am in this One body:

So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Do you see yourself as …every one members one of another?

Honestly, in my limited view, it doesn’t look like the Body of Christ is acting like it was originally designed to work – something has been severed – there seems to be some kind of disconnect like my thumb ligament. Instead of remembering that Christ is our Head and Savior, the body of Christ on earth is running ahead of itself like a headless chicken – scared out of its wits over some future this or that or the other thing. I know I am generalizing and I know that there are hundreds of thousands of committed Christ followers.  Yet, much of what is printed and much of what is splattered over the internet is a view that Christ’s body has forgotten that every one are members of one another.  For if Christ’s body had this view of unity, we’d be sharing from and standing forth from a position of grace, strength, love, and respect. Not fear.

As One Body in Christ, and as members one of another, let us join together as was Christ’s intention, and reach out in love to those in our sphere of influence – starting with our families, our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers and so forth. Let’s be for each other and serve for the benefit of all.

Let me put it this way: my ligament was severed. The surrounding tissue, ligaments, tendons, skin and other body parts rallied around this damaged area and worked for the benefit of my thumb and actually the rest of my body to make sure my thumb kept working and was kept strong. Isn’t that what the Body of Christ should be about – coming alongside others and helping us all keep going strong for the glory of God’s Kingdom? Why? Because we are all joined in Christ!

What do you think?




Image retrieved from His Word in Pictures

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