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  • Renata Joseph

Cogs, not Clogs


This week I'm reminded of my smallness; the smallness of my perspective, of my effort and my influence. Some weeks my self-import feels weighty; this week it feels infinitesimal. I'm but a small cog in a very large machine. As a kid I saw lots of machines in family movies where zany scientists used absurdly complex machines to accomplish mundane goals. Each piece was integral to the success of the whole, sometimes to disastrous results.


When I was growing up, a favorite family game was Mouse Trap. During gameplay, the players built an elaborate trap piece by piece, with the goal of catching a mouse before it ate the cheese. The suspense grew each turn as the trap grew and evolved. Some pieces were weirdly shaped or funny, some were placed precariously. One never knew if, ultimately the trap would work or fizzle-out half-way.


That's where I'm at. I am balancing precariously, wondering if this whole set-up will accomplish the task after all. Will my involvement mean the difference between victory and defeat? Will I perform well, when I'm finally called into action? What's the big pay-off anyway?


The Bible talks in 1 Corinthians about how Christians are all pieces of the same body; that we are interconnected and valuable- not for our homogeneity, but for our uniqueness Each part has a function and a role that is singular but interdependent on the others.


Last week, as we struggled through our son's health scare, we saw that interconnectedness manifest with meals delivered, prayers lifted and burdens shared. As small and as impotent as we felt, we experienced the body of Christ around us in a powerful way.


1 Corinthians 12

25b All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.


It's ok to be small sometimes. It's ok to be the weak link or the needy one. Staying plugged in is where I can best be of use and where I can best benefit from the whole system. If I move myself somewhere else, somewhere more exciting or closer to the action, I won't fit like I'm supposed to. My usefulness will evaporate. Instead of igniting positive change, I'm more likely to gum-up the works of a system that isn't meant to fit. Realizing this, I will stay where I've been put and do my best to be a cog and not a clog.

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