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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Hangnail On My Pinky

Surprising what a hangnail on the pinky can hinder a person from doing. Of course, it doesn't keep a fellow from playing golf or going fishing — doesn't keep a woman from making a trip to the shopping mall for a 75% discount sale — doesn't even hinder a teenager from driving his car. But going to Bible classes or assembly worship? — the pain seems to intensify. The uniqueness in differential of pain quotient and tolerance is unexplainable.

If a child is not feeling well, both parents don't stay home from work. If somebody doesn't pay attention to us or hurts our feelings, we still go to the work place — we don't blame the boss for what the employees do. So, why do folks neglect the Lord when they have a hangnail on their pinky?

In every congregation there are a few who are a constant drain on the energy of the congregation. They have to be coddled and pampered. Every little excuse keeps them from doing what disciples should want to do — worship, teaching Bible classes, visiting the sick, even taking a share of the load in such things as communion preparation and closing the building. Their perspective is always what the congregation is not supplying for them. They are the faultfinders who wear their feelings on their sleeves, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended.

And, it would really be depressing if we allowed our minds to be occupied by those few — if our thoughts were colored by their example, what a gloomy picture life would be. Thank God for the ones who really want to grow into the character of Christ and who really want to go to heaven. They are such an encouragement.

We are responsible to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the knees of the weak (Hebrews 12:12-13), but at some point in time we also have to have the courage to say, "Grow up...do your share...be a worker and help the congregation do the Lord's work...put something in for a change." I guess the Hebrew writer must have felt somewhat like that when he wrote ch. 5:12-14. It's really not the "hangnail on the pinky" that is the problem. A heart attack? -- well, that might be a little different.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward