“There are many parts, yet one Body.” (1Corinthians 12:20)
I enjoy watching football. There is just something about opposing forces trying to accomplish the same goal… against each other.
If you know anything about football you know that different kinds of players are absolutely necessary for the success of any team. There are huge, bulky men who compete against each other at the “line of scrimmage (where the offensive play starts).” There are offensive “skill players” – the quarterbacks (who are adept at throwing the ball), the receivers (who are swift and agile and excel at catching the ball), the running backs (who are skilled at running the ball).
On the defensive side, are the linebackers (who are adept at both tackling and defending the pass), and you have defensive backs (who are swift and agile to defend the wide receivers). All in all, each team has a group of offensive players and defensive players made up of different body styles, skill sets, and attributes that compete each week to find out who is better on that day.
But the success (or failure) of each team depends on each person on the team doing his particular job well. Each teammate has a responsibility that requires a set of attributes that match up with that responsibility. (You wouldn’t want a bunch of small, quick guys trying to block the other team’s huge linemen – and you wouldn’t want the receivers trying to throw passes to the quarterbacks). Each role on the team is different. Each role on the team is important.
Even the kicker.
The kicker is usually the smallest guy on the team. He’s not (usually) fast or agile or accomplished at throwing a football. He is certainly not going to be a capable blocker. In fact, you wouldn’t want the kicker to be on the field for any significant play in football… Except one. When the game is on the line (and your team needs a field goal to win) his is the only skill that matters. The kicker (with hardly any football skills at all), at that moment, is the most important player on the team.
In like manner, many believers struggle to see their own importance in the workings of the church. “I’m just a lay person… not a minister.” Or: “I’m not talented, like those music people.” Or: “I could never do what they do.” The “I can’ts” and I don’ts” get the best of them… leading them to the perception that God can’t (or won’t) use them because their contribution is so small… it just doesn’t really matter.
In 1 Corinthians 12 :12-27 the apostle Paul addresses the issues of significance in the Body. We have our own perceptions that we’re just not that important (because we’re not teaching a class, preaching a sermon, or heading a ministry, or playing on the worship team, etc.) And sometimes, we suffer from the perceptions of others (that are more knowledgeable, gifted, or talented than we are). It’s easy to come to the conclusion: “They’ll do the work. I’ll just show up and be supportive.”
And somewhere along the way, a realization comes… “Whether I show up or not, doesn’t really matter.”
But as in all things in the Body of Christ, what we do is not nearly as important as who we are. The very fact that God has called us, and included us, and adopted us into His Family (because of Jesus!) makes us significant. Important. Essential.
In every way that matters.
In the Church, every act of service (no matter how small) IS God at work through us. Every moment we give of ourselves (no matter how insignificant) IS God honored through us. It may not be preaching sermons, or singing on the worship team, or heading the children’s ministry. It may just be an encouraging word. Or a few minutes in prayer. Or a note to someone who is struggling.
Significance is found in what God does through us – not in what we do for Him.
And God brings us into His Body so that He can do what He does through us – and so we have a group of people around us doing the same. That’s why God calls us to be a part of His team. We just have to choose to be a part of what He is doing.