Do you know Mr. Potato Head? He’s a potato-shaped plastic toy with eyes, ears, and arms that can be inserted in various places to form an interesting-looking character. I keep two Mr. Potato Head toys in my office at church. They entertain children when I’m talking to their parents, but that’s not the real reason they’re there.
One Mr. Potato Head has got it all together — all its parts are in the correct places. The other has two or three pieces stuck in odd places. An ear is where his mouth should be, and he has no eyes. An arm is in the ear’s place on one side of his head, and his nose is on the other side. Frankly, he looks rather freaky!
These two toys remind me and others in our church family of the picture God paints of his church:
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
No part is unneeded; no part is more important than any other. Each part is designed by God for a specific purpose. As Paul writes, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:6).
If 20% of the people in the church do 80% of the work, the results are a lot like a body with only 20% of its anatomy functioning! If leaders slot workers into jobs without considering the gifts God has given those workers, an ear may end up where a nose belongs. And that’s not freaky, it’s just sad.
Because of Jesus, we get to serve God in many different ways. It’s an honor! But for the sake of the Body, let’s get all the parts working in their proper places.
My thanks to Rev. Stewart Schulz, now serving Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Kettering, Ohio, for introducing me to the idea of Mr. Potato Head in this way!