The Weaker Member
I have just finished “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohllenben. If you love trees, you will enjoy the book. But I must warn you. Since finishing Wohllenben’s work, I feel really weird around trees. They seem to be watching me. I’m also pretty sure they are talking about me.
Don’t worry. If it continues, I will get help!
One of Wohllenben’s main points is the interconnectedness of a forest. Trees depend on one another. They look out for each other. And even the most unassuming members have their role to play.
Wohllenben writes, “It is obviously not in a forest’s best interest to lose its weaker members. If that were to happen, it would leave gaps that would disrupt the forest’s sensitive microclimate with its dim light and high humidity.”
This enhances the way I view the “weaker member” in the Lord’s church referenced in 1 Corinthians 12:22-25. The Apostle Paul wrote, “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it.”
I used to think this passage highlighted the contribution less talented individuals make to the kingdom. Not only do those with fewer, or lesser talent have a meaningful impact, but in God’s wisdom, He often chooses these individuals for special purposes, because doing so draws attention to His power.
All of this true.
But now, thanks to Wohllenben, I see there is more.
Not only does God use “weaker” parts of the body to bring glory to Himself, but He also uses them to bring strength to the body. In the forest, it is a mistake to think if smaller trees are removed bigger trees will grow better on their own. Big trees and small trees actually make more efficient use of their resources when they huddle together.
I told you the book did something to me. Stick with me here…
Wohllenben writes, “This is because a tree can only be as strong as the forest around it.” In the same way, I now understand a believer in Jesus can only be as strong as the church around him, regardless of talent or time served in the kingdom. No wonder we find this verse in 1 Corinthians 12:18: “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, exactly as He wanted them to be” (vs. 18).
Do you see? God not only uses everyone in the body. He also intentionally places people with varying strengths together for mutual edification and maximum ministry impact. I realize now, this is one of Paul’s main points in 1 Corinthians 12. I guess I knew it was there, but I didn’t give it the significance it deserves.
Whether you are the small, emerging member of the body, or the mature giant in the faith, don’t go it alone. That isn’t what God intended, and when you do, everyone suffers.
I need to go now. I think the pine trees outside of my living room are talking about me.
I’ll get help. I promise.