There are a lot of people involved in a football game. A football team has star players, secondary players, benchwarmers, coaches, and support personnel. There are referees, scorekeepers and announcers. And yet, almost all of the attention is given to the few star players.
There seems, unfortunately, to be a similar pattern in the Church. The few superstars with name recognition sell the most books, have the largest following, and get the most praise. But the reality is, everyone in the Body of Christ has a very important role to play, and the Church cannot be who God made her to be without every one of us doing our part.
Praise of Men
I had a conversation with a worship leader where he was talking about learning how to be okay without the praise of men, including his pastor. We both acknowledged that the Lord is the ultimate approval source, and all that we do is for Him, and Him alone. However, there is the human struggle to feel unappreciated, or like we are not enough, when we don’t also get some recognition from people.
This is a struggle that I know all too well. I’ve always been a bit odd, not normal like other people. When I was a teenager, I didn’t fit in with the other youth at church or school. Over the years, I’ve had few friends, people that really know me. As a pastor, I was not applauded or celebrated by others, but generally, I was looked down upon or criticized for not doing things the way it’s normally done. The praise of men has been rare in my life.
Yet, there are times that the Lord uses people to encourage us and give us recognition that is needed to keep going forward with His work. A rightly timed pat on the back, or “well done”, can buoy us when we think what we do doesn’t matter. We’re still human and need some encouragement from each other. It’s like the people on the sidelines cheering us on, as we take the hits from the opposing players.
Just the Waterboy
As the conversation with the worship pastor continued, I told him, “I’m just the waterboy.” As ministers at Blue Fire Legacy, we’re not star players, and most of the world wouldn’t blink if we disappeared or even stopped our work. However, the players on the field need the waterboy. You don’t see it on TV, but those kids run out onto the field between plays to get the players a drink of refreshing water. Without the constant hustle of the waterboy, the players would grow dehydrated and weary, leaving them to underperform.
We (Dallas and I / Blue Fire Legacy) are called to minister specifically to the Body of Christ. We aren’t the power evangelists of the world, or the missionaries living among unreached people groups. We work with a people group that most think don’t need ministry (ministers and their families). It’s not a flashy ministry that garners much attention. Mostly, we work behind the scenes “off camera”.
Our purpose is to “Ignite the Body of Christ to live in fullness of purity and power.” There is a lot to that statement, but in short, we help ministers be emotionally and spiritually healthy, while also calling up the Church to live in accordance with Biblical standards. We bring refreshment to the players on the front lines, much like the waterboy. We also provide teaching and encouragement to the Body. My primary spiritual gift is teaching. So, I guess I’m a blend of the waterboy and the coach.
All Positions Matter
I got to tell the leader I was speaking with that day that he was a “Worship Warrior.” There is a battle to be had to set the atmosphere in a service that provides the space for the preacher to speak the Word of God, and for the people to hear and receive the Word. Too often, we just think of it as a time of music, but it really is a vital part of the service. Every musician and singer on the platform needs to be doing their part to bring the people into communion with the Lord.
Paul wrote much about the many parts of the Body of Christ and how we all are important. We don’t get to say that someone else is more or less important. Without everyone, the body is incomplete and suffers. (See 1 Corinthians 12)
Unfortunately, many of us look at the star players and want their gifting and calling. But, if we all had the same role, there would be a whole lot missing in the church. Pastor Noe of Harvest Time Church did a great job explaining the importance of identifying our shape and walking in the gifting that God has given to each of us, check it out here.
What part are you?
It’s not ours to determine what part of the body we are and how we contribute to the whole. That is the Lord’s to do. But it is important for us to find out what our gifting and calling is from the Lord. We can’t fulfill our role, if we don’t know what it is.
There are a lot of spiritual gift tests available. A word of caution, these can be valuable tools, but it does not replace what God says about you. Too often, we try to live to an expectation of our own or others; instead, we need to be living for the Lord’s approval.
He created each of us uniquely and specifically, as He designed. We need to walk in His design and ways, not how others think we should function. Whatever part you play, do it all to the best of your ability and for the glory of God.
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