A tip of the hat is a traditional greeting or a sign of respect. Additionally, the term means to honor someone who’s doing a fantastic job, as in, “Let’s give Scott a tip of the hat.” Today I’d like to tip my hat to the body of Christ, the miracle of God’s making, who have upheld me through my suffering season. You have empowered me through prayer, covered me in kindness, and blessed our household with generosity.
We are part of a community of individuals designed to function as a unit. We truly are better together. Paul said, “The members [individual] should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:25-26). Through the power of the Spirit, I realize new strength. By God’s grace, my sorrow abounds into joy. In your love, I find quiet rest.
Perhaps Lucy from the famous Peanuts cartoon can portray the courage of our collective stance better than I. Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn’t.
“What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?”asks Linus.
“These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.”
“Which channel do you want?” asks Linus.
Linus looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
As Christians we should be organized because we are…
Fellow citizens: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints” (Eph. 2:19).
God’s family: “Now you are…members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:1).
His holy temple: “In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22).
What has been the result of all your kindnesses in my life? Yesterday was my second chemo. I told Dr. Ampuero that last week, I ran one mile during my 2 1/2 mile walk since he’d told me “you could do anything you feel like doing.” His eyes jumped open wide, but he looked very pleased. He said that trials prove that chemo patients who exercise recover better than non-exercisers. But here’s the best news! There’s a blood test, called CA-125, a “cancer marker” for abdominal/female cancers that has a normal range of 0 – 19. Before the surgery my marker was elevated to about 110. Today, it was down to the low end of the average at 7. Multiples tests, surgery, and 2 chemo treatments down with just 4 more toxic drips to go. I’m more than half way through this ordeal and flourishing. Okay, I felt tired and nauseated. But after taking my little yellow pill and a nap I felt much better.
Your helping hand reminds me of a story about a Vacation Bible School teacher whose class was interrupted by a new student who had one arm missing. She was afraid that one of the children might comment on his handicap or embarrass him. She began to end the class they way she always did by asking the class, “Let’s make our churches,” she said. “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and there’s…” Suddenly she panicked and stood speechless. The little girl sitting next to the boy reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and said, “Davie, let’s make the church together.” This story may be seen as a parable of our search for oneness in Christ: to put our inadequate, handicapped lives alongside the lives of others and to pray, “Let’s make the church together” (Unknown source).
I will never be able to thank you individually for your concern. You’ll never get the warm hug you deserve. You might not see the amazing ways God answered your quiet prayers. But this much I have learned; something done for another member of the body of Christ comes back to bless the doer. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one succeeds, we all succeed. Please reach out this week in small and simple ways to give hope to one of God’s children in pain. What goes around really does comes around. And then we’ll offer you a tip of the hat.