When our oldest daughter was a baby, she hated to lie on her stomach. She would cry and cry until finally I would pick her up and reposition her.
Since I was with her every day, I didn’t notice anything amiss until I took her for a photograph at three months old. The photographer asked in a surprised voice, “Can’t she hold her head up any better than that?”
Suddenly I saw what the photographer saw that her head was leaning decidedly to the right side.
“Better check with her pediatrician before those neck muscles tighten up any further,” she suggested. I thanked her and called the doctor as soon as we were home.
“It’s almost time for her three-month appointment anyway,” Dr. Bone said. “Bring her on in.”
After checking her neck and observing how she leaned her head to the right, he said, “I want you to put her on her stomach in the crib for fifteen minutes every other time you put her down for a nap. If she cries, ignore it and keep her in that position. We must strengthen her neck muscles. When she cries and lifts up her head, it will begin the process of strengthening.”
It was excruciating to listen to my daughter cry while lying on her stomach. She would lift up her little head and search the room for me. Sometimes I patted her back, other times I ran from the room in tears, but I knew it was best for her and followed the doctor’s orders.
It took about three months for the lazy neck muscles to decide to do their job and hold up that little head. The doctor saw her every two weeks to note progress and told me to keep up the good work.
I still have the picture the photographer took that day. Each time I see it, I am reminded that there is a spiritual message here. The gifts that God has given us will become weak if we do not use them.
God gives us each gifts to be exercised for the common good of the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:7-31, Paul talks of these gifts God bestows. Some of us have the gift of wisdom, others the gift of faith, and others can preach the Word, but all are to use these gifts to better humankind.
If there were no preachers, how would the gospel be spread? If one had no faith, how would we hold on in hard times? If no one was wise, who would administer the duties of the church?
We each have a gift, and some have more than one. We must exercise the muscles of our gifts to edify the body of Christ. We cannot afford to let our gifts lie dormant and become weak, like neck muscles unable to hold up the head.
We may be able to live and function with a lopsided neck, but it is not very comfortable. Instead, let’s seek to function at our best, working together to keep the body strong.