Just a Nail

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
based on an old story

A church built a new building, and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired it and said it was just what the church needed. The rooms were light and cheerful, there was space to store classroom supplies, and the seating was comfortable. It didn’t hurt that it looked nice, too.

But up on the roof, a little nail heard all the praises for everything but him. No one even knew he was there! “If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit.” So the nail gave way, slid down the roof, through the gutter and into the mud below.

That night the wind came up and it began to rain. The shingle that the nail held down loosened and blew away in a gust. Water dripped through the hole, streaking the walls and softening the plaster on the ceiling. The ceiling gave way making a mess of the pews. Water dripped down on the pulpit and ruined the Bible the preacher had left there. All this damage because one little nail decided to quit!

And what of the nail? While holding up the shingle it was obscure, but it had a purpose and was useful. True, its position was hidden, but it was also protected from the elements. But now buried in the mud it was just as obscure, only it was also useless and unprotected. Over time it will be destroyed by rust.

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Psalms 122:1
  • Proverbs 14:30
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • I Corinthians 3:2-3
  • I Corinthians 12:14-27
  • Galatians 5:26
  • Ephesians 2:19-22
  • Ephesians 4:14-16
  • Titus 3:1-3
  • Hebrews 10:23-25
  • Hebrews 12:12-13
  • James 3:16

Questions to Ponder

  1. Who are the truly useless and unimportant people in life?
  2. Are the important members of a group, such as congregation, always the most noticeable?
  3. What makes a job you do important?
  4. When you work with other people, does it benefit you?
  5. Does it make a difference if you see yourself as a part of a group or separate from a group? Why?
  6. Why is envy wrong? What does it do to a person? What does it do to others?
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