LifeLink Devotions (Click here for podcast)

Friday, March 4, 2022

I am a fan of team sports. I think they’re a great analogy of the church. I have a favorite baseball and football team, and while I don’t have a specific favorite hockey team, I love watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. I also love basketball, although I am not a fan of how the NBA has ruined the game. But of all the team sports, football is unique, and for me makes for the best comparison to the body of Christ. For example, in baseball, hockey, and basketball, while there are specific positions and skills required, everyone on the team has the chance to touch the ball and score. They all have to share certain skills in common that are required to put points on the board. Not so in football. I have a deep admiration for the members of the offensive line. These five guys – almost 50% of the team – except for the center who has to hike it to the quarterback, are not allowed to touch the ball unless there’s been a fumble. By rule they are not allowed to be the first ones to touch a pass if it is thrown. They have one role – block the players of the defense so someone else can pass, catch, or run with the ball.

Soon the National Football League will hold their annual draft of college players. Some people might think that the guys who pass, catch, or run with the ball would be the first ones chosen. It would seem that their skills would be most important to the team. However, in a recent draft, the very first player taken was an offensive lineman. Of the top 31 players chosen, 23 were NOT quarterbacks, running backs, or receivers. That’s why I love football – everyone’s skills and position on the team is equally valued. The press and the fans may choose to overemphasize one position’s importance over another, but not the owners, scouts, and coaches. They know the importance of the guys in the trenches.

Ephesians 4:7 “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

That’s how it is to be in the Body of Christ. We do not all get to score touchdowns or hit home runs or score goals. We do, however, all get to play, and every player’s skills are essential to victory. Our Coach, Jesus Christ, has chosen us for His team because of the specific skills we have. Then, after selecting us, He gave us additional spiritual skills that are not learnable in the flesh. Those gifts complement and enhance our natural abilities, and make us perfectly fit for the position we are to play on the team. We tend to overemphasize the importance of certain positions, like pastors, elders, and teachers.  We believe that unless we have those skills and gifts we are not really needed or important. How wrong that thinking is! That’s exactly how Satan keeps the church from becoming the powerful force of change in our culture. That’s exactly why the church isn’t being recognized as a contender for the championship of life.

The Apostle Paul tells us in today’s Scripture verse that Jesus Christ, the Head Coach of the team, has given each member of the team a specific skill and gift set in the exact proportion He wanted to fit each one for a specific task that is necessary to the complete success of the team. You are one of those team members. You are essential to the team’s success. No one has the privilege of considering themselves more important than anyone else, and no one has the right to consider themselves insignificant and unimportant. It is Jesus Christ who determines our value, and that value has nothing to do with the position you play on the team. It has everything to do with the person you are in Christ. You are chosen. You are gifted. You are exactly what Jesus made you to be, whether that’s a ball carrier or a blocker.

So come on, get in the game. There are places for you to serve. There are games to be won. We need you to play so we can all be champions.

Pastor John

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