simultaneously. Both very good books by extremely gifted authors who change the way you look at the gifts around you from a profoundly Biblical standpoint.
And I see a flow to all of this.
While reading (listening to) It Starts With Food I marveled at how God created our bodies to work. Without our knowledge, the body is in a constant state of give and take. One organ uses this nutrient to fuel this activity, which produces this component that tells this organ to do that. Its complex and my brain cannot hold all the information.
So when I put down It Starts With Food and picked up One Thousand Gifts and Interrupted, I seemed to be changing gears altogether. Only my journey just continued.Because this body is not our only body. This life is not our only life.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body,
though many, are one body, so it is with Christ…
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:12, 27
In previous readings of that passage my brain used macro illustrations to visualize the metaphor. The eye, the hand. You lose one sense, other senses heighten. You stub your toe, the eyes close, muscles constrict, nerves fire up.
But in these past weeks, it’s the micro that has gotten the play.
There is a flow to how the human body works, and there is no difference in the living, breathing, body of the church.
So when our cellular selves were ushered into the Body by Grace, we became a part of God’s processes and purposes in a very intentional way. I picture the writers of the epistles taking us on a "Magic Schoolbus" tour, “You are new here, so let me show you how all this works.’
Ann Voskamp sees the flow in the simple, "God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy."
Jen Hatmaker in the stewardship, "Hey, here's something crazy: In the Word, poverty, widows, hunger- these are not metaphors. There are billions of lambs that literally need to be fed. With food."
And then so many of us are tempted to get tripped up by the Gospel. In truth it’s the imitation gospel. The free gift of salvation becomes the free pass to consumption. It is what has so many churchgoers sitting on their hands in warm buildings for 1 hour, then ignoring their neighbors in need for the remainder of the week. It is what leaves us discontent and blinded to the small graces God gives us every day that we are too busy to unwrap in thanksgiving.
Because, after all, we don’t have to do anything because we are saved by grace through faith- not by works.
Have we forgotten the word follow?
When we end the story there our lives are at best average, at worst destructive. The flow is disrupted. The cells in the body are plagued by selfish cancer and free-resentful-radicals cause unspeakable damage. Discontent ushers death.
That is where the beauty of the Law, the absolute gorgeous power of the Law steps in.
This is how it works… it’s not a suggestion. It’s a fact. Just as solid as gas in your fuel tank works better than vegetable oil. Thanksgiving fuels joy, and vice versa. Love fuels service, and the reverse.
Taking the time to receive, acknowledge the gifts, and return thanks- those aren’t suggestions. They are medicine to heal our souls and strengthen the Body.
So what is the next step? I will be recording thanksgiving on these pages. Perhaps you would record your own as well. Or pray that God would open your eyes to the needs of those around you.
#48. Soft blanket paths on the floor
# 49. Tea party with Belle and Tinkerbell
# 50. Songs before the meal.
And I will be giving gifts as well!
How do you receive? Simply leave a comment here on the blog or on my Facebook page with something for which you are thankful. You may even private message me. One name will be randomly drawn and I will contact you to inquire which book you would like to receive, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity or One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and you will receive it in the mail! Yay!!!
The "contest" will end on Valentine's Day. Love love love.
Sharing with Kristin for Three Word Wednesday!