Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals for August 8-14 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.
Devotional Thought for Today
John 5:7 “’Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
One of my favorite books growing up was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. If you’ve never read it (and I highly recommend you do), it tells the story of a pig, Wilbur, and how his spider friend Charlotte helps him avoid getting turned into bacon. When Wilbur first finds out what he is doomed for, he goes into a series of hysterics and is utterly helpless. If not for the calm and steady intervention of Charlotte and other friends, he would have had no fighting chance.
I find it very interesting that one of the reasons (or excuses) made by the man at the pool is that there has been no one around to help him. It might make you wonder whether this man was truly desperate to be healed. After all, with thirty-eight years in this condition and these stakes, one might expect him to take a little more initiative. He could have stayed closer to the pool and clambered in as soon as there was a chance to get healed.
But on the other hand, we can also identify strongly with his condition. When we are stuck in our weaknesses or completely helpless, what we want more than anything is for a friend to be right there alongside us. Whether or not that friend can actually restore us, we receive comfort and strengthening from others who wait along with us in our condition.
One purpose of living in community is so that we can carry each other to places of healing. If you’re currently waiting for the Lord to answer, don’t be ashamed to place yourself in a position of needing others. And if you are well, pray for God to open your eyes to opportunities to help others along.
Prayer: Father, thank You that we have communities to bear burdens with. Help us to be people who are present in each another’s sufferings. Teach us to bring others to You, for You are our greatest and ultimate source of healing.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 136
Lunch Break Study
Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-26: The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Questions to Consider
- According to this passage, God has created individuals in different capacities. Why should the members bother getting along in the first place?
- What is significant that God Himself put “presentable” and “unpresentable” parts together to form the body?
- Many parts in the body can function independently of one another (think: your left foot doesn’t need your ear to work). Why then, should each part have “concern for one another”? What would it look like for us to take this to heart?
- Because the church is made up of brothers and sisters with different giftings and purposes, we understand that each person is significant in the eyes of God. While the ”eye” is very distinct from the ”ear,” brothers and sisters in the church teach us different facets of God’s grace and His character. They also fill up what is lacking with our blind spots and weaknesses.
- “Presentability” is a value that we have made up with our own human frame of reference – we lift up or downplay certain parts, depending on whether we want them to attract attention. However, even if we deemed gifts or others “less honorable,” God has a special care for the overlooked. He puts them in the body so that they will all share in the honor that He bestows.
- Even though the members can work independently, God made all essential to completing the body – the overall health of the body is the most important consideration. If one part is unhealthy, it affects the quality of life for all the other members.
What are your feelings about caring for others in the community? Has God opened your heart to certain individuals that you could take an active role in loving? Let’s pray for God to show us how we can be sources of encouragement and life to one another.