Recently in our Come Follow Me studies we read 1 Corinthians 12 in which the church and its members are likened to the body of Christ. It goes through the hands and the feet, the eyes and the ears, etc. About a year ago in Relief Society we discussed this same passage, as we discussed it I had a humorous (albeit sarcastic and perhaps slightly irreverent) thought- “I wonder who is the stinky armpit?!?”
I chuckled to myself for a moment, and leaned over and shared it with a good friend who also tends to have a slightly irreverent since of humor. But then the spirit taught me some things about the church and stinky armpits.
All of us come to the table with different talents, blessings, and opportunities to contribute. Some members are great at the administering side of things, they thrive on accountability and reports. Others are quick to observe and minister to needs but may be lacking on the paperwork side of things. Some have amazing gospel knowledge, while others may not be on top of scripture references but have a heart full of pure charity.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be the fingers of the church through sharing my talents on the piano and the feet of the church when I was a missionary. I’ve been the hands of the church when I have made meals for new moms and newly arriving refugees. I’ve seen others be the arms of the church when someone needed a blessing or simply a hug. Recently the same friend I mentioned earlier was the ears of the church as she listened to me express some pain and frustrations. I’ve watched Relief Society Presidents and Bishops be the shoulders of the church as they bear the burdens of stewardship over their flock.
But have you ever been around someone who it seemed their main contribution was to be bothersome, overly needy, or perhaps just rude; like their whole purpose was to annoy you. I’ve known a few, and I’m sure I’ve probably been that person at times. Like that mom who just can’t seem to get her kids under control (guilty!!!), or the person making rude comments about political parties or other groups during Sunday School. Perhaps they’re spreading gossip, or just constantly taking more resources than they contribute.
These are the stinky armpits. And yes, they are a part of the body of Christ as well. While stinky and perhaps awkward, armpits do fulfill an important function in the body. They connect the arms that reach out to the shoulders bearing burdens. Our job is to be diligent in our care, attention, and respect for them so at the very least they can be less stinky. And if someone’s only contribution is to help us learn patience, love, and sacrifice then good for them for helping us draw closer to the Head of the Church- Jesus Christ.
Photo cred: https://flic.kr/p/Df9TCM