If You Can’t Be an Arm, Be a Stub


Many years ago, I preached every year at the Apache Creek Ranch, a camp in New Mexico. One summer, a young man attended camp who had only one arm. He was a strong muscular young man, obviously once a great athlete, but cancer had caused him to lose most of his left arm. All that remained was to stub. He had learned to use his right arm to do everything. He could do as much with his one arm as most people could do with two. He could swing the bat and hit a baseball as far as most of the other young men could hit with both arms. People were fascinated by what that right arm could do. However, for some reason I was fascinated by something else. I was fascinated by the stub that hung from his left shoulder. It was not an appealing looking thing, but I was amazed by what that stub could do. Now, certainly the stub could not swing a baseball bat, but it could hold the bat for the arm. The stub could not wear a baseball glove and catch a fly ball but it could hold the glove while the other arm threw the baseball. There were many things that stub could still do. In fact, that mighty right arm had learned to depend on that stub. No matter how strong the right arm was, it needed that stub. The stub served a useful purpose.

I never got over that lesson, for you see there are people who can no longer be an arm, but who can still be a stub. They can’t do what they once could do, but they can help the arm do what it can do. For more than 30 years I’ve carried that story in my heart. There was a time when I was a strong arm, but sin overtook me. Maybe I can’t be an arm anymore, but I can still be a stub. Maybe you feel your life has lost its effectiveness and you can no longer do what you once could do. My friend, even if you can’t be an arm, you can still be a stub. Maybe you can’t pastor the church any longer, but if you can’t be an arm, you can be a stub. Maybe you can’t preach great meetings like you once preached, but if you can’t be an arm, you can be a stub. Maybe there is something you once could do for God that you are no longer able to do because of things that happened in your life. Dear one, if you can’t be an arm, you can be a stub. As great as that right arm was, it depended on that stub. I don’t think the arm gave much attention to the stub; It took most of the attention for itself. But that stub fulfilled purposes that were needed, and so can you and so can I. So, rejoice my stub friends. While the arms may get most of the attention, there is still much we can do, perhaps even better than an arm.