I just read something posted by a coach I know well, and the whole time I was reading it, I was thinking "YES", there is still some of this alive and well in America, and I was also thinking our Christian lives are much the same way.
This mom, that started out being frustrated that her daughter was just sitting the bench in basketball, finally came around to asking the daughter why she was not upset with no playing time. This mom, by the way, had two other daughters who had gone on to college playing on the basketball team, and it just ate at her why this daughter wasn't getting to play. She however, didn't lay it on the coach, nor the "better" players, she was more concerned about what the daughter was feeling.
The daughter answered her that she knew her “role" on the team, and it was not on the court making the plays, it was on the bench firing up the team so to speak. The light came on for this mom, who went on to say that not only kids, but most people today have bought into this belief system that you must be the one on the court, making the plays and sinking the baskets to have any worth to the team, or to be important. Some even believe you must be a starter and lead scorer, and belittle anybody who is a bench warmer for most of the game. After getting her eyes re-opened to reality, this mom said of people who think like that, "Oh, those poor unfortunate souls". Not the bench warmers, but rather people who think you are nothing unless you are among the starters and high scorers.
How right she is. It takes talent and education to be the preacher of a congregation. It takes something I wish I had even a little but of, talent, ability and a controllable voice, to be the song leader. Not everyone has the ability or desire to be a Bible class teacher either, yet I know some who would be great at it, they just aren't comfortable in front of a crowd. But like this girl who kept her team fired up during the game, who was there to help them work hard in practice, who was a celebrator when they won, and a fellow shoulder to cry on when they lost, we too absolutely must have people like that. We must have people who take care of all the things that go unrecognized in a public way. We must have the encouragers, the organizers, the supporters. Things don't get accomplished by happenstance, it takes willing, energetic, exhorters and fellow workers to keep our team lifted up and to take care of the countless unseen tasks.
Christianity isn't the same as a ball game, but many things in life share some common qualities, and I loved this one as I read the story, and I felt compelled to jot down a few words to pass along to encourage whoever reads this. In our Christian family, like on this ball team, it is important not to make things about any single or even a few select individuals. It's about the "team" or in our case, the "family". Let us work to uplift and encourage the entire family, without any mindset that we are any more or any less important than anyone else, because it's going to take us all working in unison, each of us doing what we are good at doing, to be the body of Christ that our Head wants us to be.
1 Cor 12:15-26
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."