Dear fellow travelers,
A hot Christmas gift when I was a kid were G.I. Joe toys. These “Real American Heroes” were a line of action figures, vehicles and other accessories that fought against the evil Cobra organization which was trying to take over the world (of course). In 1982, they were even hotter, after Hasbro added “Swivel Arm Battle Grip” to the design to differentiate G.I. Joe from the also-popular Star Wars figures.
The swivel in the middle of the figure’s bicep allowed 360-degree rotation. The swivel isn’t a shoulder, elbow, or hand, but without it, bazooka soldier (Code Name: Zap) can’t pose as modeled on the package pictured here. I had “Zap” and tried it for myself. It took some experimentation, but eventually the way the shoulder, swivel, and elbow were made worked together and Zap looked like Zap should look.
Why so much detail about action figures in a Christian blog? Because the Christian church is described in the Bible as the body of Christ, and in 1 Corinthians 12:14-16, the apostle Paul assures us that, without every single member of the church participating, the body of Christ is incomplete:
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
Like Zap without “Swivel Arm Battle Grip,” the church will not perform as God intended unless all parts of the body participate, but sometimes it’s not clear to each of us what part of the body of Christ we are. To some of us, others may clearly look like a shoulder, elbow, or hand, but we don’t know our part. To some of us, others may look like the “hands and feet of Jesus” (to use a common phrase), but people don’t say the same about us. Remember that Paul says “that would not make it any less a part of the body.”
Today, let’s return to one of this blog’s key verses, Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” When we don’t clearly know the specifics of our part, maybe we are the “Swivel Arm Battle Grip” – the innovative, new part with a weird name that helps the other parts fit together and work as God intended. But also, when we do know our part, is the objective any different?