Do you know the sign of healthy joints? It’s when you don’t notice they’re there. Throughout my life I’d never paid much attention to my knees – until 12 years ago when my left knee started feeling like a needle was sticking into it. Suddenly, whenever I walked anywhere, I was painfully aware of my left knee. I needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. (I told my surgeon if I’d known I had a meniscus, I would’ve tried not to tear it!)
A similar thing happened years earlier when I sprained my right thumb. Have you ever tried doing simple things, like turning doorknobs or picking up books, when your thumb isn’t working right? Over time it healed, but I realized how easy it is to take sound, healthy joints for granted. If you notice they’re there, something’s wrong.
It’s the same in other areas of life. Take music, for example. In an orchestra, if you keep hearing one instrument more loudly than the rest – unless the conductor has assigned a solo – the musician is overplaying or playing incorrectly. The assembled instruments should blend to make cohesive, harmonious, ear-pleasing sounds.
This might seem a bit sexist, but I’ve always thought something similar about makeup on women: If you notice it, there’s too much of it. It should enhance, not call attention to itself. (Having a wife and three grown daughters, I think I have license to say this.)
The reason for these observations is because so many of us feel unimportant, convinced we’re not adding value to the world around us. We’re not doing anything to call attention to ourselves, so we must not have much to contribute, right?
We see this a lot in sports. The quarterback gets the headlines, but no one notices the center that snaps him the ball – unless the ball is mishandled. We celebrate the homerun hitter and the pitcher that throws a no-hitter, but pretty much ignore the catcher calling the pitches.
But the fact is, we’re all important. Even if we don’t get our names on the marquee, or have our names called out at awards ceremonies, that doesn’t mean what we’re giving to the cause doesn’t have value.
Consider a blockbuster motion picture. We talk about the starring actors, maybe the director. But hundreds of other people are involved in making the film possible, ranging from costume designers and equipment handlers to actors in small roles and assistant producers.
Years ago I was a magazine editor and did much of the writing and editing for our small publication. But we also had an assistant editor, graphic designer, illustrator, administrative assistant and others involved in the total process. Each time a new edition came out, I was reminded: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
That’s why the Bible affirms the value of each member of the body of Christ. “The body is a unit.... If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.... As it is, there are many parts, but one body" (1 Corinthians 12:12-20).