A Body of One

michael-jordan-last-shot-anniversary-1

The Parts Working in Harmony

Adrenal glands dumping and heart pumping as the ball is put into play.  The player receives the pass, pivots, and faces the basket…

The left foot pushes off as the body explodes toward the free throw line; right foot plants hard bringing the torso to an abrupt halt; a cross-over dribble shifts the ball from right to left hand; left foot starts back to the left and plants; right foot gathers underneath the body as the knees bend in preparation for the thrust upward; muscles explode; body takes flight; left hand guides ball into the right hand as body continues upward; eyes lock in on target; shoulders rotate as arms and hands elevate skyward; elbows extend out; wrist bends into a gooseneck position propelling the ball out while fingers create a perfect backspin as ball takes flight. 

The body works together in perfect sequence as it’s done thousands upon thousands of times over the years.  The result:  a “swishing” sound as the ball falls through the net – it’s intended destination; timeout opponent; play resumes; …ballgame….championship!

Feet dance; legs prance; chests bump; fists pump; arms hug; larynges scream; lips smile; hands high-five; eyes cry; a championship won…a head glorified.

I’ve just loosely described the winning shot in game 6 of the 1998 NBA championship when Michael Jordan sank a jump shot with about 5 seconds remaining to put the Chicago Bulls up by one point.

What failed to be recognized in all this were all the nameless other working parts which made this shot go down forever as one of greatness.  When the parts of the body are working together in perfect unison, doing what they were created to do, the head is glorified.

Ahh…maybe you know where this is going.

Wisdom from a Mentor

Years ago, a spiritual mentor told me that before the Lord would give me my ministry, he would ask me to come underneath someone else’s vision; he would ask me to put my agenda aside and consider someone else’s calling over my own.  Bottom line, God would ask me to lay my ego down and consider the possibility that my calling and my vision were not the most important calling and vision for all of eternity [sarcasm intended].

This advice was so rich in wisdom, and I’ve kept it in mind over the years.  In fact, those words have surfaced again and caused me to reflect upon observations I’m seeing around me.

God’s Calling

I used to get kind of focused on God’s calling upon my life…as if all eternity was waiting for me to come out of my slumber and become who God created me to be.   However, don’t be fooled, I am a big deal to God…but then, so are you and all his other kids.  When all these “callings” are brought together under the submission of the Head… ballgame!

Original Design

I’ve talked about the concept of “Original Design” often (and again, I’ll credit Danny & Amy DeWalt for this term from their book “High Octane Marriage”).  If you think about the grand design of this Universe, each of us were created to play a beautiful part in it. 

But that’s exactly the point here.  We’re assigned to play a part and if all of the Body will play our part, the puzzle pieces begin fitting together to make a larger picture which our finite brains could never create on our own.  A most glorious picture I couldn’t begin to articulate here.

Like the description of Jordan’s game winning shot above, every part is created to do it’s job…to work together for the purpose of the Head being glorified.  But it doesn’t just end with the Head enjoying the spoils of victory…the body gets to celebrate as well!

Celebrating a Team Victory

As this message developed in my mind, I realized I have a responsibility and a privilege to celebrate as each part, each member within the Body of Christ, works with the gift they’ve been given, to glorify the head.   If we are truly on the same team then we should be celebrating hard when one of us has the nerve to actually believe who God says He is, and steps out in those gifts.

I’ve been given the opportunity to write for a website and recently had a post published.  I’ll be honest with you by saying that I was pretty excited when that first post happened, and I became a bit self-absorbed initially about what God was doing “in my life.”

Reality Check!  There are so many people out there who’ve felt a calling to write, to paint, to produce, to perform, to develop, in the giftings hard-wired into them…it’s not just about “ME”, and what God’s doing in ME…it’s about the body glorifying the Head.

One of my reasons for saying God is so awesome is because He possesses that big picture we don’t have…and it’s much bigger than my little perspective can handle.  I am thankful I serve a God who’s world is so much bigger than the little kingdom I sometimes become preoccupied with.  It wreaks of selfish ambitions when I get that way.

In fact…this self-absorbed mentality, which becomes so wrapped up in “God’s calling on MY life…” can sound kind of spiritual, but it can also look a lot like the mentality we see in the world today.

Pursuit of Rings and Legacy

Listen to an interview on a sports station with a superstar athlete and at some point, your liable to hear questions about rings…about championships…about personal legacy.   I wonder sometimes if Christianity is walking a dangerously parallel line with this thinking.

  • My church…
    • My ministry…
      • My calling…
        • My spiritual giftings…

Is it possible that spiritual competition can enter into the picture if this kind of thinking isn’t put into check?   I go to THIS church…I go to THAT church…our worship team does THIS…our church offers THAT…I follow Paul…I follow Apollos.

We’re on the same team; We’re of the same body… If one wins we all win.

Take a Moment Here…

Take a moment and look at the people around you who are trusting in the Lord and stepping out in the gifts God has given them.  Celebrate those efforts because when our Lord is glorified, we all win.   The writer, the artist, the person joining the local church worship team, the person going on their first mission trip, the small business person stepping out with a creative idea, the person taking a chance by changing careers because something’s pulling on them… If Christ is glorified in any and all of these small efforts, we all get to celebrate because the Body wins!

A Challenge to Spiritual Fathers

If you’ve been blessed with some ministry platform, use your position to boost the work of God higher.   I think about the burdens I carry as a father.  I have a desire for my kids to step on my back and climb higher than I’ve gotten.  I believe it is a characteristic that comes from the throne of heaven…a desire to see those who come after advance further.  Why?  Because we’re part of a story that is so much greater than just our lives.

What an opportunity we’ve been given; to be invited to be a part of the greatest story ever known!  If a person is doing a Kingdom work, rally around the efforts for Christ to gain a greater victory.  Sibling rivalries are not for our family.  Think of how you can promote the efforts of those around you…encourage them to keep pushing forward.  If Christ is glorified…we all win.

I say again, If the Head is glorified, the Body shares in the victory.

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