The parable of Nose and Hand

Posted on Aug 9, 2017 in Articles by Staff

“God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!””

1 Corinthians 12v18-21, 

Nose and Hand were sitting in the church talking. The morning service, led by ear and mouth, had just ended, and Hand was telling Nose that he and his family had decided to look for a different church.

“Really?” Nose responded to Hand’s news, “why?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Hand said, looking down. He was usually slower to speak than other members of the church body. “I guess because the church doesn’t have what Mrs. Hand and I are looking for.”

“Well, what are you looking for in a church?” Nose asked. The tone in which he spoke the words was sympathetic. But even as he was speaking them he knew that he would dismiss Hand’s answer. If the Hands couldn’t see that Nose and the rest of the leadership were pointing in the right direction, then he could do without them.

Hand had to think before answering. He and Mrs. Hand liked pastor mouth and his family. And Minister of Music Ear meant well. “Well, I guess we’re looking for a place where people are more like us,” Hand finally stammered. “We tried spending time with the legs but we didn’t connect with them. Next we joined the small group for the toes, but that didn’t interest us.”

“Then we attended the Sunday school for all the facial features. Do you remember? We came for several Sundays a couple of months ago?”

“It was great to have you.”

“Thank you. But everyone just wanted to talk and listen and smell and taste. It felt like, well, it felt like you never wanted to get to work and get your hands dirty. Anyway, Mrs. Hand and I were thinking about going to that new church over on East Side. We hear they do a lot of clapping and hand raising, which is closer to what we need right now.”

“Hmmm,” Nose replied, “I see what you mean. We’d hate to see you go. But I guess you have to do what’s good for you.”

At that moment, Mrs. Hand, who had been caught up in another conversation, came to join her husband and Nose. Hand briefly explained what he and Nose had been talking about, after which Nose repeated his sadness at the prospect of losing the Hands.

Mrs. Hand nodded in agreement. She wanted to be polite, but, truth be told, she wasn’t sad to be leaving. Her husband had made just enough critical remarks over the years that her heart had begun to reflect his. No, he had never burst into an open tirade against the body. In fact, he usually apologized for “being so negative” as he called it. But the little complaints that he let out here and there had had an effect. The small groups were a little cliquish. The music was a little out of date. The teaching wasn’t entirely to their liking. In the end, it was hard for them to put their fingers on it, but they finally decided that the church wasn’t for them.

In addition to all that, Mrs. Hand knew that their daughter Pinkie was not comfortable with the youth group. Everyone was so different to her, she felt out of joint.

Mrs. Hand then said something about how much she appreciated Nose and the leadership. But the conversation had already run too long for Nose. He thanked Mrs. Hand for her encouragement, repeated that he was sorry to see them go, then turned and walked away. Who needed the Hands anyway? Apparently, they didn’t need him.

(Taken from the preface, written by Jonathan Leeman, in Mark Dever, “What is a healthy church?” (Crossway, 2007)