by Sarah Langness
A huge part of my “missionary heart” belongs to Operation Christmas Child. I think I’ve packed shoe boxes ever since the project started back in 1993; and if it wasn’t then, it was only a year or two later that we began. For seven years in a row I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Processing Center in Minneapolis with my youth group. I was able to volunteer at Relay Centers, both in Sioux Falls and in Bismarck. I’ve been encouraged as I’ve seen the church here in Beulah rally behind this project and the number of shoe boxes donated from our little town grow over the past years. This past week, I received the “Special Report” magazine from Samaritan’s Purse, highlighting the OCC gifts and distributions this past year. As my eyes took in the immense smiles on the children’s faces, the utter joy and disbelief at the gifts they were receiving, tears came to my eyes. And I thought, “I want to be a part of that.”
It’s been a dream of mine to deliver Operation Christmas Child boxes. I would love to be involved in OCC’s discipleship course, The Greatest Journey. I want to see the joy on those children’s faces personally; I want to rejoice with them as they not only receive wonderful physical gifts, but as they receive the gift of Jesus as their Savior. Because at first glance, at first thought — that’s the important work. That’s the exciting work. That’s the work on the front lines, where all the action takes place.
But as quickly as I thought, “I want to be a part of that” – I was reminded that I am a part of it. Just not on the front lines. Just because my work begins in Beulah, North Dakota population 3130, doesn’t make it any less important. Any less significant. Any less needed.
I’m a part of the body. The body of Christ. What I do, how I serve looks different from what you do, how you serve. Sometimes it’s all too easy to consider the “seen” positions as the important parts of the body. We forget that toes offer our bodies balance. That eyelashes keep dirt and debris away from our eye. That tiny taste buds make eating enjoyable.
“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary . . .” 1 Corinthians 12:18-23 (NASB)
Did you catch that? There is no insignificant part of the body of Christ.
Although I may not be able to see the faces of those children as they open their shoe box gifts, maybe I’ll get to meet them in heaven. Hear their story about how a box full of toiletries and toys introduced them to their Savior. But best of all will be seeing His face and hearing Him proclaim:
“Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21 (NASB)