The Gift of You

Dear Friends,

No, scratch that. You’re not just friends. You’re family. You’re blood relatives, joined to me by the precious blood of our Savior. So, let’s start over.

Dear Family,

No, scratch that. You’re even more than family. Family has a shelf-life. We are human, therefore we die. But as spiritual family, we don’t die. We live forever. We exist eternally. We are not just family, which is here today and gone tomorrow. We are workers, citizens, servants, and stones in the house of God. We are priests together, chosen by God to worship and serve Him eternally. But none of those seem personal enough or carry the feeling of intimacy that I feel with you. So, let’s go with Paul’s great illustration of 1 Corinthians 12 when he describes us as a body, parts joined together, working together, dependent on one another.

Dear fellow body part,

Wait!... Nope. Now it’s just sounding weird. Let’s start over.

Dear you—wonderful, redeemed you,

I want to thank you for being you. You are a part of the body I am a part of. I don’t know if you’re the hand, working at the tasks of serving God and getting the work done in this world that God so eagerly desires to see happen. I don’t know if you’re the hair, fixed so perfectly to display the beauty of Jesus. I don’t know if you’re the foot, that carries us from place to place, from one task to the next, so we might be effective workers in the Kingdom for which Christ died. To be honest, I don’t need to know what you are or what you do to love you and need you. I need you because you are part of the same body of which I’m a part. I need you because if you are not there, our whole body suffers. I need you because as part of the body, your pain is my pain and your joy is my joy. So, thank you for being you, uniquely you, and sharing a role in this Body of Christ. We are all better because of you being you.

To get even more personal, and less Biblical (I’m not sure I’m allowed to do that in a bulletin, but since I’m the one typing, let’s go there), I also wanted to thank you because you have loved me and my family. You have continually supported me in doing the work here. You have watched my children with me, helped me guide them and shape them into who I think are so far turning out well. You have encouraged my son in song leading and being an active part of this Body of Christ, not an experience most young men get to enjoy. You have prayed for my wife and her health struggles and cheered us on as we have had doctor after doctor search for answers and solutions. You have loved us, and loved us well. We are undeserving of you.

Please know that you are also loved by my family. Being a part of East Shelby, even though I would qualify myself as a pinkie toe in the body analogy (the part that is clearly necessary, even if it’s only purpose is to be the one that there to get stubbed occasionally), has been amazing. We have grown through trials and triumphs this year. We have  grown in our relationships with many of you. And we know that we have many more of you to get to know. Hopefully 2019 will be a great year for that.

Let’s remember this year that we are a Body. We are joined together by the intention and purpose of Jesus. We are all here because we are all needed. We need each other. I need you. Never doubt that, for there are no truer words. So again, thank you.