Overcompensation with My Ankle (And Your Church)

I am still in crippled status.  After 2 weeks in a hard cast, my ankle is still broken from the infamous basketball game.  I am in the boot for 4 weeks gradually applying some pressure on it.  Still on crutches.  Obie said this morning, “Daddy, your crunches go squeak, squeak like a mouse.”

They sure do.

As you look at this picture above, I will ask you, by the look of it, which ankle is hurt?  Of course you would say, the ankle on the left of the picture is the one hurting.

And you would be wrong.

The ankle in the boot feels fine.  No pain, no real discomfort, it’s just annoying to have it confined to a boot.  The ankle that is hurting more is the ankle on the right side of the picture.  I have experienced a real pain deep inside that ankle not confined to the boot.  When talking to my buddy who is a doctor, he said what I’m experiencing is called overcompensation.  Having to put more weight and pressure on the uninjured ankle oftentimes causes more long term damage than the injured ankle.

I firmly believe the principle of overcompensation is happening in your church right now.  You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule.  20% of the people do 80% of the work.  You look at the other 80% of people as if they are broke and so you start putting more pressure on the 20% that isn’t broke.  The problem?  Overtime, you can cause more damage on the 20% if you burn them out.  From the outside, you still can identify those that are not working in the Body of Christ.  Spotting them is as easy as spotting a broken ankle in a cast.

But spotting the others is a little more difficult.  They may appear to be doing just fine, but on the inside, they may be wearing down.  Caring for so many others, they begin to overlook the problems in their own lives that they need to address.  In the Body of Christ, every part needs to be functioning or else it harms all the other parts (1 Cor. 12:12-26).

Practically, what does this mean?  Here’s how our worship team prayed last night:

  1. For the 20% doing 80% of the work, we prayed that they would make sure to care for their own growth and not neglect their personal sanctification.  We also prayed against burnout.
  2. For the 80% doing 20% of the work, we prayed what Jesus prayed, that God would send out more workers into the harvest since the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matt. 9:36-38).  Instead of a volunteer drive, we did what Jesus did by praying that God send us the workers needed for his harvest.

If a member in the Body is broken, don’t overcompensate that you do more long-term damage on the other members.  Expect all members of the Body to do their part.  Because if they don’t, it affects every other member.

“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it…” (1 Cor. 12:26).