On the margins - Hope 103.2

On the margins

By David ReayFriday 6 Jan 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-26

21 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.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honourable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honourable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honour and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honoured, all the parts are glad. (NLT)

It has been said that a society is best judged by how it treats its most vulnerable and weakest citizens. Something to sober us up as we consider our own nation and many other nations. But a similar thing can be said about our churches. How the weakest and most vulnerable members are treated is a pretty good indicator of the sort of church we are.

Those who are socially awkward, perhaps those with some psychological or physical disorders, those who are frail and ‘shut in’. All such people can be easily overlooked. As churches seek to grow and reach new people, they can be in danger of neglecting those already in their midst. As churches launch new programmes and urge greater buy in from the congregation, they can unwittingly forget about those who are not ‘useful’ in the implementation of whatever activities are planned.

Paul reminds us that all parts of the human and church body have significance. We dare not dismiss or demean those parts which don’t seem attractive. Rather we give them special care.

So beware of judging people in the church according to their usefulness or immediate attractiveness. And it may well be God will judge our churches not by the programmes we run or the facilities we build, but by how we have treated those on the margins. Those on the margins from a human viewpoint are right in the centre of God’s view.

David Reay