I played a lot of baseball growing up. I was on a few good teams and several bad ones but it’s not about winning, it’s about having fun…. Ok I’ll be honest, I preferred winning, I found it to be a lot more fun, which is why one of my favorite years playing baseball was the year where we won it all. We absolutely dominated that year, I don’t think we lost a single game. When I look back on that year what strikes me is that our team wasn’t actually that impressive, on paper we didn’t have a lot of all star players. What we did have, however, was a team where everyone was willing to do their part.
So, for example, we had a kid who couldn’t throw but he could catch, so we stuck him at first base, another kid could run like the wind but was afraid to play infield so he played centre field, and I could throw hard but couldn’t hit, so I got to pitch. We all had different and unique ways we could contribute to the team and our success was dependent upon each one of us using our particular skill set in a way that benefited the whole. I think my little league team can teach us a few things about the Church.
1) You Have a Role to Play
The apostle Paul makes it very clear that in the Church there are no benchwarmers (or pew warmers). Every person who calls themself a Christian has been gifted by God through the power of his Spirit to build up and support the church in some way. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul explains that there are all kinds of gifts that Spirit gives to us but explains that each of them are given for the common good. In the book of Ephesians he says, “From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (4:16). This means that if you call Northview your home church, the rest of us need you and your Spirit empowered giftings. Whether you’re like the kid who can catch, run fast, or throw real hard, you are a part of this thing called the body of Christ and you have a role to play.
2) You are a part of a team
As you think about ways in which God has uniquely gifted you and the role you play don’t forget that church is a team sport. Paul explains it like this, “There should be no division in the body, but its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, ever part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:25-26). In other words, we are on the same team, and like it or not, you need your brothers and sisters to play their role and to play it well, whatever it may be.
I was living in Alberta when the Edmonton Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, he was dubbed their saviour. However, as the Oilers continued to struggle in the past few years, it has become evident that even the most talented and gifted player in the world can’t win games alone. He needs a goalie who can stop a puck and defensemen who can pass. We need each other, so may we be quick to encourage, support, and spur one another along.
3) The MVP Award is Already Spoken For
At the end of our baseball season our coach would often hand out awards and the most prestigious award was the most valuable player award. I never did win that award but I did take home my fair share of MIP (Most Improved Player) awards. Anyway, at the end of Northview’s season, when God is handing out the MVP award, you better believe that it is going to Jesus, unanimous decision. I say this because a brief survey of church history would show that when people in the Church forget that Christ is the head the whole thing comes crumbling down. We exist to make great the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, not ourselves.
So, fellow members of Northview, may our prayer be this: That each of us use our gifts faithfully to build up the body, that we acknowledge our need for each other and grow in love and appreciation for one another and that we do it all for the glory of God.