My dad once told me a story about something that happened to him when he was a kid. It involved his school lunch. Even in the long years of the depression, his family had enough to feed four kids. My grandfather was a Pennsylvania State prison guard, and my grandmother was an admissions clerk at the local hospital, so their work was steady.
My grandmother was an extraordinary baker. Homemade bread, rolls, cakes, pies….she could really stretch her grocery dollar with her skill and while they didn’t have much, they had enough.
One day my grandmother asked my father if he enjoyed the peach pie she had packed. She chastised him a little for never mentioning the wonderful homemade baked goods that she packed every day. He was confused, and told her that he didn’t have any pie in his lunch pail. The next day she asked about the cinnamon roll she had packed, and again, he replied that all he had was a sandwich.
They tracked this for a few more days and realized that one of the other children was taking one item from his pail every day….likely a child who had nothing to eat. From that day on, Grandma packed two sandwiches, two pieces of fruit, and two baked goods. Every day when my Dad got to the lunch room, only one of each item was left. They never did find out which child they were feeding, but together they made sure a child didn’t go hungry.
In the body of Christ, my grandmother was the baker. She quietly made sure that there was enough to feed her four, and one other. That child might have felt very ashamed to have to steal food to survive. But my father never mentioned it at school. In the body of Christ, he was the silent partner.
Romans 12 (Common English Version)
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
What is your place in the body of Christ? Are you the ear, able to listen to someone’s problems? Are you the wallet, able to give your financial resources to help those in need? Maybe you are the feet that are willing to go and do disaster recovery, or the hands that hold a sleeping baby so that a tired mother can sit under the cypress trees and hear the sermon…
6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Everybody is somebody in the BODY. Next time you see a place to use your gift, say yes. You never know whose life may be forever changed by it.
I have relatives by marriage who were prison guards in Pennsylvania, at Farview, the institution for the “criminally insane” outside Waymart. They were my Uncle John’s parents. There’s a bit about how my grandparents survived the Depression on my own blog, Flannelnerd, under the heading, How Will Dairy Farms Survive?