“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Mary Moerbe, Lutheran author and pastor’s wife

You missed a spot

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:3–4)

In the church, we don’t always get to choose with whom we come into contact.

Likely as a result, I just had to treat 2-year-old twins for lice! I bathed the twins and washed their hair. I put them both back into the empty tub with the lice shampoo and waited before rinsing per instructions.

Those two slathered themselves with soap in a grand display of sudsy abundance. They got themselves silly and slippery, entirely pleased with themselves.

Yet, never once did they clean where their real problem was.

Sometimes our problem isn’t nitpicking. It’s using so much soap that we make a different kind of mess. We feel good and accomplished about our “clean” little selves seeing what we have missed.

Whether we are in church work or not, when we pursue physical wellness, we likely treat what we want to treat.

We focus on bits and pieces in the hopes of feeling good about ourselves, but what if we are missing the larger problem in that area, too?

Physically and spiritually, sin, death and the power of the devil remain our biggest problem areas.

Our Lord took on human flesh for the sake of our human flesh, too. He didn’t do it so we could exercise smugly or rub ourselves shiny with a snippet or two of Scripture.

He does it so that, in body and soul, we can live in His triumph and care, to His glory.

It’s a struggle to take care of our bodies. Church life complicates that further with its schedules and socializing, but a steady diet of Law and Gospel is the best answer.

Hence, God in His wisdom and mercy continues to feed it to us.

In the words of God, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3) and “What God has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 10:15).

Lord, You have made us Your baptized children. Keep us in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Direct the care of our body and soul using Your Word, Your assessments and Your comfort to guide and keep us always. Amen.

Mary Jackquelyn Moerbe is an LCMS deaconess, writer, speaker, and homeschooler. She and her husband, Rev. Ned A. Moerbe, have six children and live in Oklahoma.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.