Splenic Ambitions

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

I’ve always been the oddball in the various churches I’ve belonged to over the years, I don’t quite fit in, yet I have my uses. That has always been my story, even outside of church. You can look at my church and name the big players: you know who is the liver, brain, lungs, eyes, heart, hands, and feet. They’re all good and function well in their roles as we carry out the mission of Christ. I’m not a major organ. My existence on the margins wouldn’t make me a good eye, an effective liver, or a well tuned brain. I would not excel in those capacities. It’s not to demean; I know myself well enough that my strengths are not there.

In the body of Christ, I am the spleen.

You know, that small organ squished over by the stomach. The spleen takes out blood cells that have passed their shelf life and recycles their parts for other things. It’s basically a giant filter that sometimes goes rouge and starts collecting all the platelets, and when that happens, the spleen is removed. No worries though, the liver will pick up the spleen’s job without being asked. It also helps out the immune system, being part of the lymphatic system. It’s a nice thing to have, but its not essential for life. And that’s exactly what I am. 

It has perks, I have my own blood supply, hence why I can cause problems if there is trauma. I’m basically left alone unless theres an issue, no one pays me much mind. I send out help when it is needed (like fighting infections). I do my job quietly, and make sure the recycled cell components get used by other organs.

In a fetus, the spleen makes all the blood cells until the bone marrow is capable. At the beginning of projects, I find myself making sure it has a good running start. I’ve launched anthologies, hosted an intern, instituted a year long bible study, and take the initiative on things. Major decisions made in the church are never run by me, I don’t even know half of the inside information. I hear about conferences and retreats after they happen. Church life for me has always been like this.

Some people look at me weird. “A spleen?” they say. “But you’d make a great ear! Then you’d be visable and noticed!” Nope. I’m a spleen. I’d prefer to stay deep in the body cavity, thanks. “Well, then, maybe a gallbladder or bone marrow! Bone marrow makes blood cells, just like you did!” I’ve tried that, too. I was an ignored member of a team at a megachurch where no one spoke to me or bothered to get to know me. I smiled, I did my best at small talk, but they made it very clear I was not part of their body system. Looking back, it makes sense. I am a spleen.

Not many people get me.

I shine in the background, as the one behind the curtain.

I’m unique enough that you only need one of me.

I’m proud to serve in the capacity I was made to do.

I am honored to be the spleen in the body of Christ. And happy to serve a church that was in dire need of one.

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