A Beautiful Saddle
Have you ever gone to a horse show or tack shop and gazed longingly, or perhaps covetously, at all the beautiful saddles on display? The intricately tooled leather designs, contrasting seat, and silver ornamentation combine to make a beautiful piece of equipment.
When my daughter showed at the fair this year, I too often found myself comparing our well-worn, rather plain-looking saddle to many of the fancier ones I saw all around us. I wished that I had been able to provide something a little prettier for my daughter to show her horse in, but kept reminding myself that the judge would not judge the classes based on how beautiful someone's saddle was (at least that shouldn't be a factor).
As I thought about saddles, I realized that they illustrate 1 Corinthians 12 very well. In that chapter God explains that our bodies have many parts - eyes, feet, ears, mouth, etc. Each of those parts has its own role to play, but they must all work together in order for our bodies to function properly. He goes on to show that the church is like our physical body. Each Christian is a member of the church body and has his/her own role and purpose. Each of the parts of our physical bodies is important, for example we wouldn't say that our heart is more important than our brain. In the same way each member of the body of Christ is also important and it is not for us to say who has the greater role. We are all necessary.
1 Corinthians 12:18-25 “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. ... those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. ... God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it.”
You're probably wondering by now what this has to do with a saddle. When I am 'oohing' and 'aaahing' over a saddle, I'm looking at the outward, most visible parts, but there are many very important saddle parts that are not so glamorous looking and are partially or completely hidden from view. Are those parts unimportant? Shouldn't we just get rid of them? Of course not. I'd hate to use a saddle without a girth, wouldn't you? Or how about the straps that hold the stirrups on? Or the tree that gives support and structure to the whole saddle?
Are you beginning to understand why I thought the saddle illustrated 1 Corinthians 12 so well? Without all those parts working together - the visible, beautiful ones and the underlying, plain-looking ones, it wouldn't be a safe, usable saddle. Sometimes I think that I am not as important in God's plan as someone like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. When I think about the example of the saddle, I realize that I am one of those plain-looking parts hidden under the showier parts of the saddle. My role, small as it might be, is still important, just less visible.