“In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people.” Romans 12:4
It’s no mistake that I read this scripture this morning in my quiet time. God is very cool like that! When I can’t find the words for how I feel in my heart, His word always has them right there! The part that jumped out at me was “each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole”. If ever there was a truer statement made to sum up my thoughts from our Sunday, that was it!
You see, almost 9 years ago, I found myself in an almost identical situation as I find myself today. 9 years ago, I was just home from the hospital recovering from surgery…not just any surgery, but a surgery where the doctor had made a mistake and cut my common bile duct while removing my gall bladder. That mistake kept me in the hospital for 7 days and very hurt and confused. Oddly enough, a routine surgery for a hysterectomy found me in the very same place I was 9 years ago…yep, another mistake! Ever watched Alice in Wonderland and followed Alice’s journey of following the signs “EAT ME” or “DRINK ME”? Well, I’m kinda like that, but the sign on me says, “CUT ME,” or rather “cut something you’re not supposed to cut.” This time it was my ureter tube, requiring me to have a stint for 6 weeks. It’s not quite as painful as the last mistake, but it still left me wondering “why” and feeling hurt and confused. It also left me at the same place as 9 years ago…wanting to run to be with my church, to be surrounded by people I knew loved me.
At LifeSong Lyman yesterday our staff hijacked the service for a Pastor Appreciation Sunday. Typically, October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and typically for the Hickman family it’s always pretty much been October! In our previous places of service, it always passed by with maybe a card or two, and really, that was just fine with us. Jeff and I aren’t people that feel deserving of any sort of highlighted appreciation, so even the little knowledge we had of what would happen yesterday was somewhat uncomfortable for us. Just like me opening up God’s word this morning and discovering again that God knew just what I needed, the same held true for all that occurred yesterday. Whether or not we wanted the attention, God brought such encouragement and love to us yesterday that my heart is still overflowing. Coming from just having surgery on Wednesday and knowing in my heart there was no place I’d rather be than with my church family, God allowed my heart to be filled and gave me such strength from worshiping with the Body. I took so many great points from Pastor Hayden’s message yesterday, but my favorite and the one that sums up our heart dealt with honoring your pastor by living out a life that loves Jesus. This one point alone made me be OK with the attention of yesterday because it truly sums up the desire of our hearts. We want to see everyday a people following God from our leading. It’s the ONLY thanks we need, and as I looked around the room, I saw what I saw in my circumstances 9 years ago…a people that were passionately following Christ and loved Him with their whole heart. It broke me and humbled me to know that God allows us to serve you, LifeSong. You make us so proud and you challenge us each day to be all WE can be in Christ. Yesterday may have been set aside as a day to thank us, but let me say, “NO, thank YOU!” When you pursue Christ wholeheartedly, when you love Him with your whole life and love your neighbor the same, you are thanking us.
Back to my introduction…the Scripture says, “each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole,” and I can say that you do that for me, LifeSong! When in my hardest days, you lift me up and you rejoice with me in my highest moments. This morning, one of my favorite speakers, Christine Caine, tweeted…”A true friend to your destiny can be measured by their ability to rejoice with you in your successes, not only weep with you in your losses.” That, my friends, is the Body of Christ, and you represent her so well! So, I say, “Thank You”! You have loved us well, spurred us on to become all we can be in Christ and walked through every part of our lives with us being the lifters of our arms. All the others may think they serve the greatest church ever, but let me settle it now…LifeSong Church, you ARE the best! We love you and we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts!