My left-hand is so proud of my right-hand. It possesses such an uncommon humility. After all, being right-handed, my right-hand outperforms my left-hand on nearly every dexterity test. When swinging a bat, my left-hand assumes the supporting role. When throwing a ball, my left-hand is always sure to give it to my right. When asked to sign documents or pen a note, leave it to my right-hand. Even though my hands are nearly identical, with shared faculty to accomplish identical tasks, my right-hand will get the nod over my left-hand nearly every single time. In fact, there is not one task my left-hand can do that my right could not do better. Even in jest, when emphasizing how important a matter is, I’ve been known to say, “I’ll give my right arm for that.” My left-hand knows I favor my right.
Jealousy is a common human experience. A trap we fall into when we compare ourselves among ourselves – which God warns us is not wise. (2 Cor 10:12). Too often we are secretly disgusted with the success of others. We chafe at their dexterity or at the fame and acclaim they get. Bent on finding fault, we dismiss others’ accomplishments as surprising, in light of what “we know” about them.
Envy likely has a unique “on-ramp” into everyone’s experience. To one, jealousy plays to money or talents or possessions and yet to others, jealousy can play to accomplishments, status, or influence. Matters are not made simpler when livelihoods are forged in the real world of competing for contracts, jobs, land, or market share. An uncommon humility whereby we esteem others higher than ourselves is required to cheer for those in first place when we are second, third or not even invited to the race.
What can we learn from the left-hand? My left-hand possesses a simple understanding that makes all the difference. It understands that it is a member of ONE body WITH the other parts. This simple understanding has a few corollaries:
- My left-hand shares a common identity with the right-hand.
- My left-hand does not see himself separate from the right-hand.
- My left-hand feels the pleasure of the Head.
My left-hand is so proud of my right-hand. After all, this is the way of the body. And so it can be with Christ’s church also. A rich and profitable humility exists in the church that potentially makes it very unlike any community we otherwise experience. Just like my left-hand with my right, we believers share a common identity with the members of Christ’s body. We see ourselves not as separate independent members but joined together as we share purpose. The success of one member is a success for all members. When our focus drifts off our independent selves, we find the pleasure of Christ, as our head, to be everything that is important.
By seeing it like my left-hand sees my right, we will live with one another and exhibit the sure marks of oneness in the body.
- We will celebrate the achievements of others – understanding that it is our achievement also.
- We will look to our Head, Christ, for affirmation – understanding that His pleasure is all that matters.
- We will truly weep with those that weep and rejoice with those that rejoice as one body united.
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