Sermon Illustrations

EYES AND TOES

There is a terrific story I once heard in a taped message from a marvelous Baptist pastor named Ron Dunn. Dunn's parable suggested that once upon a time there was a body where the eyes convinced all of the other parts of the body that the gift of SIGHT was the only important gift. They admitted that there were other gifts, but they ranked all of them below SIGHT and wanted all of those in leadership positions within the church to have SIGHT. What's more, they couldn't admit that SIGHT was only the right gift for those whom God had called to be eyes. They insisted that if all of the other body parts and organs were really, really spiritual enough and beseeched God enough, they could have the gift of SIGHT, too. They scheduled prayer meetings for the other organs and body parts to pray through for SIGHT. They scheduled training courses on "Learning to See."

Now in that same body, there were some toes which had low self-esteem. They didn't understand that God had given them the gift of BALANCE. They didn't understand that even though they were often hidden and were never given any praise, God had called them to the vital ministry of BALANCE. They felt guilty that their gift couldn't do more. They felt like they weren't spiritual enough. So, they prayed and prayed, begging God to give them the gift of SIGHT. And since this is only a story where body parts act like people, I can say that God eventually gave in. Even though God knew the toes didn't need this gift, God gave them the gift of SIGHT. And do you know what they saw? They saw the inside of a sock.

Like the toes, you may not be satisfied with or even recognize the ministry that God has given you, but if you had the same gift as somebody else, you might not like the result. God knows what is best for us and has graciously given us spiritual gifts according to our ministry--what we do, not our title. This is key. As Brunner said later in his book on the church, "It is precisely upon this variety of gifts and this difference of measure that the Ekklesia rests as a fellowship of mutual enrichment and mutual service (I Cor. 12; Eph. 4:12-16)." [Brunner, Volume III, p. 292.]

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