March 26, 2012

The Sum of Our Parts

"I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for a reason." ---Hugo Cabret from the movie Hugo

That quote is one of the reasons I fell in love with Hugo. How many of us go through life seeking our purpose? We devour books like The Purpose Driven Life and take aptitude and gifts tests, all in a quest to answer that universal question "Why Am I Here?". This quote doesn't answer that question, but it does confirm that we do have a purpose, we are not disposable. And this wisdom was summed up so simply by a 12 year old orphan.

What's even better about this quote is that is reflects God's plan for us. In Romans 12:4-6, Paul writes "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." We all have different talents, different gifts, different functions. We couldn't survive if we all did the same thing. Can you imagine a world where everyone was a gifted musician? Who would build the instruments? Who would feed us during recital intermissions? Who would provide the gas to attend the concerts? It's a silly little example, but you get the point.

Howdy is quite proud of the fact that he is the "creative" brother while poor Bubba is the "mathy" one. He is so happy to not be saddled with that lamentable talent. And conversely, Bubba is quite happy concentrating on math and skipping anything that falls under the "artsy" category. They are a good balance, both providing for the other's weakness, as it was meant to be. The times when MC and I have difficulties are when we are both trying to have the same function, performing the same role. With both of us concentrating on the same thing, how can anything else get done? Read through
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 with me:

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jew or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (emphasis mine)

Every single one of us has a purpose, a place, a role created specifically by God. We may not understand each others' roles--for that matter we may not understand our own--but we are where God put us, to fill a need that He saw and created us for. None of us is an independent entity, we are all a part of a bigger picture, connected in ways that are beyond our understanding.

What would happen if all of us acted not as individual cogs and gears, but if we figured out how to work in unison as we were designed to? I think that would be Heaven. Literally. I think that is our ultimate goal here on earth, to work together to read God's schematics and perform as a well oiled machine, one that loves God, loves our fellow man (or woman) and spends this life worshiping our Creator. That's our goal, but all too often we fall short.

"Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do. Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose, it's like you're broken." ---Hugo Cabret

Feeling broken? Lost your purpose? Reconnect with others. Get plugged back in somewhere until you can find that rhythm, until you're not just watching the gears move but you're helping them do their job better. Nobody is here by accident, everyone has a purpose. Yours may not be like that of your neighbor or your parents or your closest friends. It's not supposed to be. You were made for a unique purpose, a singular task, a job that only you can fill. Never forget that. You are not an accident and God mourns for you while you are broken.


  1. Idk...sometimes I feel too much like a machine. Going through the motions without feelings. I find myself staring into space. No thinking...just being...and I don't like it. Sometimes I just want to be a thumb not even a hand. Isn't that a horrible existence.

    1. I totally understand that feeling of going through the motions. That's where I've been for a long time. Right now I am trying to drag myself out of that pit. My success rate varies from day to day but I'm trying.
      Who wrote that if you don't mind sharing?

  2. I love this Sheri.... You had great timing. I think I needed a reminder to get back in tough with the "whole" me and put my faith and trust back in God's hands instead of my own. Thank you for the reminder.