Calling the Blind and Armless

Several years ago, two students graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. The top student in the class was a blind man named Overton and, after receiving his honor, he insisted that half the credit should go to his friend, Kaspryzak. They had met in school when the armless Mr. Kaspryzak had guided the blind Mr. Overton down a flight of stairs.

This acquaintance blossomed into a friendship of interdependence. The blind man carried the books that the armless man read aloud in their study. They compensated for each other's deficiencies by doing what they could. Following their graduation, they practiced law together.

Now that's what I call synergy. Synergy is what happens when two things work together for the good of both. The picture I remember from a fifth-grade textbook is that of a bird picking bugs off an elephant, thus showing how both animals benefit!

In the Adventist Review, Jennifer Jill Schwirzer offered an example of synergy in the church. "A Pathfinder group needs a cooking honor, so they cook for the women's prayer breakfast. Several more women than usual attend the breakfast because they are the mothers of the Pathfinders, and they had to drive them there anyway. At one mother's suggestion, the women's ministry donates the leftover pancake mix and frozen orange juice to the food pantry ministry. The members that run the food pantry are so tickled that they start talking about both the Pathfinder club and the women's breakfasts, and pretty soon both groups have new members....The trend goes on, one act of service leading to another until the whole church is ablaze with the love of Jesus" (January 2002, p. 11).

Now imagine what could happen in your church if you were to leverage your spiritual gifts and become a spark plug of synergy. The Holy Spirit might just use you to ignite an explosion of Pentecostal power and reshape the church. Maybe you have the gift of wisdom. You can be a voice of reason when the youth group is geared up to egg the cranky deacon's house on Halloween. By tempering your friends' plans, you can build unity in the church. Or maybe your gift is faith. You can challenge the church family to trust God to build a bigger sanctuary than they think is necessary. Or your gift might be mercy. By visiting the shut-ins regularly, you can crank up the compassion climate in your church and inspire a more loving community. Perhaps you've become disenchanted with the church or you've dropped out because you didn't feel needed. Rubbish! I'm here to tell you that whatever your gift, God has a place for you in His church. No excuses.

I don't care if you're blind and armless. You are a vital part of the body of Christ. So go ye therefore into all the world...and synergize!

January 01, 2004 / Fresh Start