We All Have Our Place
Scripture doesn't describe the church as a team, but a family. However, many things that we associate with teams can also be associated with both family and the church. Here's one example; it is important that every member fulfill their role or part. Imagine a baseball game, but the left, center and right fielders didn't show up. Consider that team's chances of winning that particular game. Or perhaps this point of view, a football team has only a hand-full show up for preseason training, yet they all show up on game day, dressed and "ready" to play. Do they even know the plays? Have they practiced the hand-offs, blocks and pass plays? Do the ball carriers know their routes? Are their bodies conditioned for the level of activity required for the game? Do they even know the new team members names?
Surely that paints a picture of the similar dis-function a church will undergo when its members are absent for extended periods, out of the loop and/or otherwise unengaged, un or under-informed. Do we expect any sports team to win if they don't practice together, discuss their strategy, test their plays and get their bodies in physical condition for the competition? How can we expect the church to win, to function as God expects, if it experiences the same absences and non-participation we have described above?
Like sports teams, and most any other group in our society, churches need people who are committed to fulfilling their roles. We need people who understand what it takes to prepare for and accomplish that which they are responsible for. If you have determined to be a church goer, but haven't committed to any responsibility when it comes to the church, please reconsider. God says we are His "handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph 2:10) If all of that work is left to a faithful few, how effective is the church? Can it expect to win at much? And consider this question. With people in the world looking to be a part of a winning team, when they look at us, do we show the love of God through our actions, and do we make the church sufficiently "attractive" in keeping with His Word to compete against the world? Do they see us happy, alive and vibrant, or somewhere between boring, half dead and depressing?
What if God had not done His part? What if He had not sent His son, allowed Him to take our place in punishment for our transgressions and sin? God raised Him up and seated Him in the heavenly realms, but He didn't stop there. He raised us up too and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms so that He might demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us, through Jesus Christ. (Eph 2:1-10) But where would we be if God had chosen to stay away and sit that part out? Where would we be if God had decided someone else could do all the work? What hope would we have, if God had chosen not to show up?
Lord willing when people look at the church, they see an excited body of people, happy to be alive in the Lord. We are indeed both of those! How much more "winning" could the church be though, how much faster could it grow, how much stronger would it be, if every one of us stepped up our game a little?