Playing As A Team

“…so also in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others (Romans 12:5).

Super Bowl XXXVI was played in the Louisiana Superdome on February 3, 2002. The New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on a last second field goal.

The game was memorable for a number of reasons in addition to the last second heroics of kicker Adam Vinatieri. The New England Patriots were establishing themselves as an NFL dynasty. The game was played just months after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and featured a lot of patriotic music.

And this game is remembered because of the player introductions.

Super Bowl tradition included the players being introduced by name before the start of the game. But the Patriots bucked tradition, refusing to have players introduced individually, instead choosing to run out on the field as a team and have a team introduction. They wanted to emphasize they were a team. Their strength was not as individuals, but as a team.

Now, enough about football, let me state the obvious. God can do great things when his people play as a team. Unselfish ministry of all, regardless of their giftedness, will result in the body of Christ working in a way that reveals God to who see.

God in heaven,
All praise to You.
You are one.
You are revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit.
Yet You are one.
Help me learn from You.
Help me be like You.
May my ministry be unselfish.
Make my desire to be one with others who serve.
Bring Your people together, O God.
And use us for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

A Simple Approach to Spiritual Gifts

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).

A friend sent me this explanation of spiritual gifts. I did not write it, nor do I know where it originated, but I think it sheds light on both how we are different and how we need each other.

First, let me set the stage. A church planned to serve cookies during an intermission each week. However, the children of the church would eat up all the cookies before church even got started.

How would you react to the children? That may depend on your spiritual giftedness.

For example, those with . . .

  • The gift of prophecy – known for speaking the truth – might say, “Children, don’t eat all the cookies. Other people are hungry, too.”
  • The gift of mercy – known for graciousness – might say, “Leave the children alone. Let kids be kids.”
  • The gift of knowledge might acknowledge, “Kids will be kids.”
  • The gift of wisdom might advise, “Kids should be kids.”
  • The gift of love might say, “Look at those precious children! My, aren’t they delightful?”
  • The gift of joy might exclaim, “Look at how happy those children are!”
  • The gift of fellowship – known for sharing time with others – might say, “Children, come over here. Let’s eat together.”
  • The gift of hospitality – known for sharing homes with others – might say, “Children, come to my house to eat.”
  • The gift of teaching – using everyday events as teaching examples – might say, “Children, let’s discuss this situation and see what we can learn from it.”
  • The gift of exhortation – giving correction and guidance – might say, “Children, you know there is a better way – a giving way.”

How would you handle the situation in the future? That, too, might depend on your giftedness.

For example, those with…

  • The gift of intercession might offer a prayer over the children, the cookies and the congregation.
  • The gift of administration might set up practical procedures for how the cookies can best be distributed.
  • The gift of leadership might direct the cookie distribution.
  • The gift of service might personally serve the cookies.
  • The gift of giving might buy more cookies to give away.
  • The gift of faith might say, “The Lord will provide.”
  • The gift of evangelism might say, “Look at God’s providence for His children. Salvation rests in Him.”
  • The gift of music would worship the Creator in all things.

As we continue to find our place in the story by identifying and using our gifts, let’s remember to appreciate the giftedness of others.