by Richard Mansel
This past Saturday night, while cooking spaghetti, I accidently spilled boiling water on my hands. A subsequent visit to the emergency room told me I had suffered first and second degree burns. Three shots and a lot of cream and gauze and I was sent back home. Now, I am unable to use my hands since they are wrapped in gauze. I am typing this solely with my thumbs and my wife will be assisting me.
Ordeals like these really teach us some valuable spiritual lessons.
First, we take far too many things for granted. We never think about our hands. We take them for granted, but we could not function without them. Scripture speaks of hands being used in expressions of love, hate, worship, idolatry, war, and peace. They were used to seal covenants (Genesis 47:29-31); construct temples, teach the lost, and record the very words of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17; Exodus 24:4; Revelation 22:18,19). They are the tools by which our world is built. Without them, the world would be sorely lacking.
We often take our spouses for granted until we are dependent on them. I have a wonderful wife, but these days my appreciation for her has deepened. She has done everything for me without complaint.
When couples have marital problems they have most often pulled away from the one-flesh concept and become focused solely on themselves (Genesis 2:23,24). Someone or some event must help them remember and reunite so they can be whole again. At that point they will discover what they have been missing.
We take God’s blessings for granted every day. The majestic things of our world are easily noticed while in the mundane, blessings are overlooked. In these small moments of life, the richness of our experiences in God are truly evident. The items we use every day, like our feet, hands, and words all come from God, but we never think about them. Likewise, the weather escapes our attention until dramatic changes occur. Otherwise, its continual flow eludes us.
Second, helplessness is a powerful lesson. When someone else must help us do the simplest things, these tasks become enormously important. In these moments of helplessness we can renew our appreciation of God as the song says, “without him I could do nothing.” Scripture says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).
Third, I need to do a better job of being Christ’s hands in the world around me. Christ is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2). Yet, he has given us the task of carrying forth the gospel and attending to the righteous. These tasks must be performed by his disciples. We must be his hands on earth, his servants in his kingdom (John 13:12-17).
Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Christians must be involved in God’s business (Luke 2:49). It is our singular function as members of his kingdom. Yet the flow of life causes this responsibility to fall by the wayside. Daily we must take up the cross and serve God with all of our energy (Mark 8:34). The king speaks and we serve. Too often though we aren’t listening. We must recommit ourselves to being the hands of God as we submit ourselves to the gospel call and its responsibilities.
My hands will heal and I will begin to take them for granted again, sadly. Spiritually, will something remind me of my responsibilities to God when my faith grows cold? This is yet another reason why our close bond with our brethren is so vital. We must help keep each other focused on the truly important things of life.
Without hands, life is very difficult.