"There's A Hangnail On My Pinky!"

It’s really surprising what a hangnail on the pinky can keep a person from doing. Of course, it doesn’t keep a fellow from playing golf or going fishing, nor does it keep a woman from making a trip to the shopping mall for a 75% discount sale. It doesn’t even hinder a teenager from driving his car over the speed limit on the freeway. But going to Bible class or worship? Whew! The pain resulting from that hangnail seems to suddenly intensify! The uniqueness in differential of pain quotient and tolerance is virtually unexplainable!

Let us here note that if a child is not feeling well, both parents usually do not stay home from work. If somebody doesn’t pay attention to us or hurts our feelings, we still go to the work place. We don’t blame the boss for what the employees do or say to us. So, why do folks neglect the Lord and His service when they have a hangnail on their pinky?

In every congregation, there’s always a few members who are a constant drain on the energy of the congregation. They have to be coddled and pampered. Every little excuse keeps them from doing what followers of Christ should want to do — the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58); cf. 1 Corinthians 3:8-9). From their perspective, it’s always what the congregation is not supplying for them. They are usually the faultfinders who wear their feelings on their sleeves, just waiting for an opportunity to be offended. Wouldn’t it really be depressing if we allowed our minds to be occupied by those few — if our thoughts were colored by their example, what a gloomy picture our spiritual lives would be.

Let’s thank God for faithful members who really want to grow into the character of Christ and who really want to go to heaven (Gal. 2:20; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 1:21-23) . They are an encouragement to us all! While we are responsible to “lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the knees of the weak” (Hebrews 12:12-13), we must also realize, that at some point in time, we need to have the courage to say to those with the hangnails, “Grow up" —  "do your share" — "be a worker and help the congregation do the Lord’s work” — "put something in for a change” (who knows, you might actually receive something back! — Malachi 3:8-10).

The Hebrew writer must have had some of the above thoughts run through his mind when he wrote Hebrews 5:12-14. It’s really not the “hangnail on the pinky” that’s the problem. A heart attack? — well now, that might be a little different!

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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