Summary: Christianity is a team sport, and though we fill different roles, we’re all God’s fellow workers
God’s Fellow Workers
September 14, 2008
When you get your newspaper delivered to your home, is the newspaper carrier the one responsible for the whole thing?
If you’re a football player, and you score a touchdown, should you get all the glory? All the credit? If you’re a businessman who sells a successful product, should you get all the credit and all the profit?
Of course not. When we take a moment to think about it, we realize that each one of these things takes many people, to make the end result possible.
The newspaper carrier is just the final step in the process. There are the reporters and editors and printers and truck drivers and office help, and advertising salespeople to support all these things – and that’s not even taking into account those who make the machines or equipment to make it all possible, or harvest the trees, and then those who make those trees into paper and get that paper to the newspaper to print.
If you’re the businessman who sells, let’s say widgets, you can’t take all the credit. Someone had to make the widget for you to sell. Someone had to design the widget to make it worth selling, and someone had to determine the proper marketplace for widget buyers.
Then there were those who supported that sale with public relations and marketing. There’s a whole support structure surrounding any successful product.
If you’re Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, as talented as he may be, you don’t gain 200 yards in a game unless the coaches design good plays, unless the team practices and learns those plays, unless your offensive line clears at least a bit of a hole for you, unless your quarterback gets you the ball in a good spot to make a good gain.
These things are all common sense, and with just a little thought, we’d all say, well, sure I realize this – I know it takes a team effort to make almost anything of worth happen. But if we truly realize this, why is it that we sometimes seem to get this idea all out of balance when it comes to the results of spiritual things like church, missions or evangelism?
Paul chided the Corinthians about this very idea. There were factions forming in the church in Corinth, and we read about it in 1 Corinthians chapter 3. The people in that church were looking at the important roles that some filled, in forming and sustaining that church, and were taking sides.
If this was happening at TCF, some might say, “I’m a Jim Grinnell fan. He’s a gifted worship leader and preacher and counselor. He’s my favorite – I’ll follow him.”
Others might say, “I love how positive and joyful Joel is. His preaching is always inspiring. He’s the one I follow.”
We looked at this idea in a different context a few weeks ago when we were talking about your work and your faith. Remember we noted that there’s no hierarchy of service in the Kingdom of God. Missionaries are not more important than pastors, and pastors are not more important than children’s church teachers, and teachers are not more important than custodians, and custodians are not more important than those who have a ministry of prayer, and those who are in, quote unquote, “full time Christian ministry” are not more important in the Kingdom of God than those who work a secular job.
Here’s how Paul put it in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (NIV) What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Now, this morning, much of our Sunday service has been focused on missions. And rightly so. Missions is the calling of this church.
But most of us are here. In Tulsa. We’re not missionaries. We’re not called to be missionaries. We’re not supposed to go to India or Nepal or Burma, like Cindy Perry is supposed to.
We’re not supposed to go to China, like the Places are supposed to. We’re not supposed to live and work in Kazakhstan, like the (name omitted) are supposed to.
We’re supposed to stay here. This is our place of service. But does that mean we’re not part of the team? Do we have a role in missions?
Absolutely – an important and vital role. Paul told the Corinthians here that the Lord has assigned to each his task. Whatever your task, it’s just part of the team effort, whether you’re Cindy Perry or Sarah King.