They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink, and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” And David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band.” I Samuel 30:11-15 ESV
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. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. I Corinthians 12:14-26 ESV
One evening a stray dog came to the Wilders’ farm. They Wilders didn’t have any dogs, because dogs dig up gardens, chase chickens, and suck eggs. Big dogs might even kill sheep, so dogs simply weren’t welcome on their farm. But this stray dog was very thin with hunger and cringing with fear. The Wilders felt sorry for it, so they gave it something to eat. The dog stayed outside their house that night, and late at night Mother heard it growling. When she looked out, she saw it walking up and down. The next day Father found the footprints of two men around the house, and learned that a week before another farmer had been robbed. The strange dog had protected the Wilders from the robbers.
When David’s army found a man very weak with hunger, they didn’t just leave him to die. They gave him water and food and saved his life. He had been a slave to one of the Amalekite raiders, but when he got sick his master had left him behind. He wasn’t any use to his master if he couldn’t work, and his master didn’t care if he died. David and his men were different. They felt sorry for him and helped him, and he was able to help them the same way the hungry, scared dog helped the Wilders. Often people who seem weak and worthless have something to offer.
In the Body of Christ this is always true. It’s Jesus who brings his people together, and each person has something to offer. The people that seem weak or foolish are the people we especially honor with love and concern, and God helps us see what he wants to give everyone through them. God works that way to remind us that none of us has anything to offer anyone else on our own. Each of us is sinful and weak and foolish, but Jesus came to die for us to take away our sins and give us his help and strength. God gives gifts of love and help to his people, and it’s through others that we receive what God gives, while we give to others the care and service that God gives us.
Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing us into your body by dying for us and forgiving our sins. Give us all love and help to share with each other. Amen.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls Farmer Boy New York: Harper and Brothers, 1933.