Monday, December 15, 2008

We're All Skill Players on God's Team

Football aficionados know the term "skill player." A skill player is usually designated as someone who handles the ball (quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end) as opposed to a lineman or defensive player.

I've never liked the term (perhaps because I was once a lineman), because it seems to promote the importance and contributions of certain players over their teammates . . . at least in the estimation of the uninformed. Any serious football fan knows that all 11 players are indispensable and vital to the team's performance (not necessary equally so, but all important, nonetheless). Tony Romo may get the lion's share of credit (or criticism) for the Cowboys' success (or lack thereof), but Marc Columbo's performance is important, as well. And, Tashard Choice doesn't make his 43-yard jaunt to end zone last night if Flozell Adams and his mates on the line do not get their blocks.

Most enterprises are like this. In every group, there will be the high-profile players and the behind-the-scenes contributors. The boos of an outfit often gets the public acclaim (or ridicule), but the secretary, the researcher, the bookkeeper, the custodian . . . they all play an important role in the performance of the company.

Churches are like this. The preacher is often out in front. Elders are often on the pedestal. Youth ministers are up there, as well. But, where would a church be if it were not for the secretary, or the one who faithfully unlocks the building each Sunday, or the one who prepares the communion, or the one who checks on the shut-ins, or the one who keeps the lawn, or the one who stocks the pantry, or the one who keeps the Bible class curriculum ordered, or the one who prints the bulletin, or . . . well, you get the idea.

I had the blessing of worshiping with the church in Farmersville, Texas yesterday evening. A delightful group. I enjoyed my time with them. I met a young man there who has Downs Syndrome; a wonderful person, with a bright smile, a kind heart, and a commitment to service. Each Sunday and Wednesday, he turns on the P.A. system, puts the numbers up on the "stat" board, and post the song numbers. He takes great pride in his jobs, and he serves his church well. He may not be a "skill player," but his service to the Lord's family is just as important and vital.

I love the words of Paul, as he addresses a church that is beset with division and pride. He tells the Corinthians, "But God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body" (1 Cor. 12.19-20 HCSB).