Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Thy Way Not Mine O Lord"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 4:16 – He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (NLT)
The Gleaners plant near Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, is the home of a highly efficient non-profit operation. Surplus and unsaleable produce and shipments of lentils, peas, or barley are combined in dehydrated form to produce a nourishing soup mix to feed hungry people in the world. The Gleaners are on track to reach their goal of producing fifteen million servings of soup this year.
Transforming produce into soup mix is a complex undertaking, but every member of the production team works together to make it a success. A manager oversees the whole operation and is the liaison between the Gleaners plant and farmers or other suppliers. He receives donations of produce and keeps in touch with the workers, informing them of what is ready to be worked on that week. A pool of local volunteers comes in on a regular basis to cut into chunks whatever has been received. Sometimes during the summer, whole families volunteer together, camping in tents or recreational vehicles right on the site.
The vegetable chunks are fed through a dicer and spread out on metal trays, which are stacked on trolleys about ten high to be dehydrated overnight. The next morning, a team arrives early to scrape the dried pieces off the trays, so that the trays can be used again that day. Each vegetable is collected in a separate barrel to be combined and bagged at convenient times during the year. Sounds efficient, doesn't it!
As first-time volunteers a few years ago, my husband and I joined the people gathering around tables already supplied with cutting boards and piles of vegetables. After selecting a sharp knife, we watched and learned how to deal with each type. Soon, we were in the swing of things, filling our buckets, to be picked up by someone going to the dicer. Conversations with others didn't slow our rhythm at all.
Once in a while, we would look around to stretch our necks and backs. An obviously mentally challenged man followed his worker who had just walked in. The worker took his place at the cutting table, but his charge just stood there, rocking back and forth, making sounds. But he was actually doing something. Positioned by the pile of beets, he handed them to his worker, one beet at a time. That's all he was capable of doing, but we could tell that he was happy in his work. He would rock faster and make louder sounds.
This observation made a deep impact on me. I realized that the process of serving was just as valuable as the end result. Everyone on the production team was important, even the mentally challenged man, who was doing his "own special work" of handing over beets, one at a time. Let's not look down on others or on ourselves for doing what some might consider to be lowly jobs in serving as members of the body of Christ.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that each of us has a special place in the body of Christ, each doing an important and necessary job. Help us to appreciate the members doing the so-called lowliest tasks for their contribution. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.