Published August 9, 2011

Shelia Shares....
"Working Together"

June 21 (2007) I sprained my ankle. I don't have a great story for you (like that I was skydiving and it sprained when I landed or I had been jogging and at the end of that 10 mile run — it just happened). I was simply walking on a smooth level surface and I must have set it down wrong. Anyway, it sprained. And it has taken a great deal of my time.

The whole incident gave me a picture of the whole body working together.

It was my ankle that was hurt. However, my mind didn't function properly. I couldn't think complete clear thoughts. I was distracted. I was preoccupied and it affected my thought patterns.

The first day, the pain caused a severe nausea. The ankle was hurt, but the stomach reacted.

The first two days I lost weight. I was eating and I wasn't exercising, so what was happening? My son explained to me that I was "stressed." Dealing with that stress used a lot of the nutrients I was getting.

Although it was my ankle that was sprained, my leg throbbed whenever it wasn't elevated. In fact, my leg throbbed when it was elevated. My leg at the very least had sympathy pains with my ankle. There was no isolated ankle pain.

It also took longer for me to do a job. I couldn't move as fast. Every other part of my body had to compensate for the non-functioning ankle. My arm hurt since it carried my weight on a cane. My good leg did extra work to keep the weight off the sprained ankle.

Sometimes I found a different way to do a job. The ankle really didn't like to go down stair steps. I found I could sit on the steps and go down step by step on my rear end. It accomplished the job, but in an unusual way. It accomplished the job, but not well.

My convenient routine was changed by one body part. I needed other people's help.

The first evening we went on with our scheduled plans. I leaned on Paul, as well as a cane. In fact, Paul was so proud of me when I asked him to find a wheel chair so he could push me where I needed to be. I knew I couldn't do things by myself.

My son drove me to the doctor, to the health campus for an x-ray and to get a pneumatic ankle splint. He drove me to a hair appointment. Paul took my car to a scheduled appointment to get the oil changed. Paul drove me to work and my son drove me home — after working limited hours. A man from church loaned me an adjustable cane.

I used a splint to hold the damaged part steady. I wanted my ankle to heal properly. I didn't want to further damage it.

I needed to exercise the ankle even while it was in the splint. I needed to build up the strength of a body part that had failed. The splint prevented injury, while the exercise didn't allow the ankle to stiffen beyond use.

It was a priority to get the sprained ankle back to working properly. I "iced" it, elevated it, braced it, protected it. Healing was a priority.

The rest of my body wasn't mad at the ankle for having a sprain. It didn't criticize my ankle or neglect it. The rest of my body was concerned. The entire body worked together to do what needed to be done. The damaged part of my body wasn't discarded. It was redeemed — and returned to full use.

When the Apostle Paul likened the church to the parts of a body, perhaps he had some of the same kinds of things in mind. One part not functioning affects the entire body. Each part needs to rejoice and grieve with the other. When one part doesn't work, other parts need to pick up the slack. No part is isolated from the others. Sometimes the church needs to support when one part needs to back away from tasks and just rest. Even when one part isn't working properly, the rest of the body needs to gather to help it exercise and strengthen and heal.

I Corinthians 12 talks about the church as a body and might be a passage worth reviewing. The true church works with the part of that body that has failed. It supports, protects and assists until that part is once again redeemed and fully functioning.

I didn't give up on my ankle. I hope you won't give up on the church and each member in particular.

- Shelia

Comments on this? shelia@thegospelgreats.com .

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