What image enters your mind when you read or hear the following verse from I Corinthians 12:26 ? “ If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
That was one of the verses in the reading from our night’s Bible message a few evenings back and afterwards as we discussed it, I asked my husband if he, like I, chose to dwell on the positive, rather than the negative portion of that scripture. In thinking about the scripture in relation to the church family, while my thoughts went to the recent rejoicing with a local youngster’s winning a major spelling bee, the author of the article had written regarding the suffering of a fellow human being and the compassionate concern of another to do all in his power to alleviate the stress and strain brought about by his condition.
What did that rejoicing image in my mind say about me, that I want to overlook the suffering part and just go on through life as if everything is always blue skies and rainbows? Did it say I always have a cheery outlook for everything? The answer to each of those questions is a resounding, “No!” although I suspect deep down it does say I would rather have fewer shadows and lots of sunshine on the road of life for myself and for others.
There’s a story in Mark 14:1-9 that tells of the woman who poured a vial of very expensive perfume over the head of Jesus. This is just prior to Jesus’ death and we are not told what prompted her deed, but she was scolded for doing so by some of those present. They spoke openly of how it could have been sold and the money used to care for the poor, but Jesus spoke in her defense, praising her, saying, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Imagine being a part of the scene: Weeping with those who weep? Jesus was facing death and He knew it. Rejoicing with those who rejoice? The woman was praised by the one they called Rabbi. Does her example cause each one of us to want to be more aware of sharing the suffering and rejoicing opportunities that are in our daily lives? We can’t do everything for everybody but let’s remember to apply the lesson from Jesus’ own words: “She has done what she could” as we go about our daily lives always ready to share the suffering with our brethren as faithfully as we rejoice in their good times.
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 3-23-2010
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