How a big toe helps write a book


I’ve been studying the passage and writing the study on and off for four years now, and I keep being surprised by the new layers in it. I guess sometimes we see truth best in the living of it.

In the last two weeks of this project, I’ve found myself up against an old challenge. I want to be able to do it myself. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone else. But offering my body as a living sacrifice to God is inextricably linked to knowing that I can’t do it myself.

Until this week, I had missed the crucial little word connecting the first two verses of Romans 12 to the next six.


(12:1) “. . . offer your bodies as living sacrifices. . .”

(12:2) “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. . . “

FOR (that’s the word I missed, that little connecting word that indicates cause or reason or clarification)

(12:3) “. . . I say to you. . . Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought. . .”

(12:4-8) “. . . we have different gifts. . . If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. . .”

In other words, don’t think you can (or need to) do everything by yourself. Offer your part and work on doing that well, and don’t try to be a kidney if you’re actually an elbow.

And find comfort in this: what you have to offer matters. It really does.

Those meals you brought? They fed me while I wrote. That editing you did? That praying? That formatting, and the childcare which freed up another to do the formatting? It’s all proof that this study is not my work. It’s our work, one of the many places where God’s life is being poured out through His body working together. I might be the hand holding the pen, but without you, the big toe, I wouldn’t be able to balance. I’m so excited to show you next week what we’ve been doing together!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Jonathan Watts

    Glad to be a toe!!  🙂

    love you!


  2. Nancy

    Thanks Carolyn! As always I am encouraged by your writing, and thankful to the Lord for this gift that He has given you. I’m SO LOOKING FORWARD to next week and seeing the study!

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks for the encouragement, Nancy. I really enjoyed the soup and am still enjoying the muffins 🙂

  3. Jacqueline Teasdale

    Lovely Carolyn! I too, have been at home for a couple of weeks now, unable to do as I would wish to do (if I could emphasis the I, I would!!). Until today………..a friend came round and wanted to discuss some family issues and out of the box came all the old skills from when I was working in my professional capacity and suddenly the light seemed to come on and enlightenment dawned. She was my big toe that I balanced on as she brought much needed provisions, and I think I was her ears…….God is so good!!!

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      What a wonderful example, Jacqueline! Rejoicing with you in God’s goodness.

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