Summary: Third sermon in the summer 2006 Series, “Being God’s People by Serving, Obeying, and Giving.”
(1) Two weeks ago, I asked you if you rooted for a team no matter who played on it and if you rooted for a particular player no matter what team he/she played for. Some of you responded that you did both.
I have very few players that I root for. I will admit that I am a Brad Miller fan and have enjoyed watching him play when he is here in Indiana or Chicago.
(2) However, one of my favorite teams of all time was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. They are the only team of the modern era to have a perfect (undefeated) season along with a Super Bowl win. (a) When I think of that team, the names of Bob Griese, Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and their kicker, Garo Yepremian, come to my mind and memory. (b) However, when I went to the Miami Dolphins website to make sure I spelled their names correctly, I was reminded that there were 44 other men who were a part of that team.
A real football fan, especially a Miami fan, has probably memorized all 49 players’ names as well as knows something about their lives 34 years later. Can anyone here remember the names of one or two other players from that team?
Some people do, but most of us don’t. (c) But, their teammates remember their names especially the linemen, offensive and defensive, who did their jobs and helped the offense to score the points to win every game they played.
From what I remember Csonka and Kiick were the best known members of the team. They were the running backs who plowed through defenses and gained yardage against their opponents, yard by yard. Then there was Griese, the bespectacled Purdue alum who threw to receivers like the veteran Warfield who would close out his career with the team he started with, the Cleveland Browns.
However, as I did more research, I was reminded that a veteran quarterback named Earl Morrell, who was in his late 30’s by then, did most of the quarterbacking that season when Griese went down in game five with a broken leg and led the team to nine victories before Griese returned to quarterback the team in the conference championship game. He was claimed by the Dolphins in 1970 after being with the Baltimore Colts who he also led to victory as the backup quarterback in Super Bowl five when Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas was injured.
Then there was Howard Twilley, number 81, another wide receiver, who was the only original member of the Dolphins left when the team began play in the old AFL in 1966. He played his entire career, 11 seasons, with the Dolphins.
As I think about that team I realize that it was the efforts of all 49 players, plus the coaching staff (which included Don Shula, who coached at Miami for 25 years), that made the perfect season possible. It was a team effort, with those who became famous, and those who did not, contributing to the effort.
(3) This is my point – Ministry, like football, is a team effort and it does not matter who is the ‘star player’ or ‘head coach.’ What matters is faithfulness in service to the Lord because it is the Lord’s church and the ministry we do is done in His name.
(4) Today we conclude our look at our key operational value in the life of God’s church – service. Now I think that it is important for us to understand what ‘value’ means and value is a word with multiple meanings.
In our context a value is something of significance or importance to a person or group. It is a deeply held belief or practice that is critical to effectiveness.
In our text for this morning, as with our texts for this month, the issue of/the value of/the importance of servant hood is before us. And Paul makes it clear that ministry is a team effort. (5)
‘Who is Apollos, and who is Paul, that we should be the cause of such quarrels? Why, we’re only servants. Through us God caused you to believe. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.’
(6) Let’s look at a few of the words and phrases in this verse as we also take a closer look at our main text.
• Who? (a)
Paul, as we have heard the past few weeks, is trying to correct some very self-centered attitudes that are dividing the church in Corinth. And he gets at the core issue when he begins his questions, designed to get his audiences to think about what they are saying to one another, with ‘Who?’ and not ‘Why?’ or ‘What?’
In an interview three years ago, Howard Twilley was asked to comment about his teammates on the 1972 Dolphins. ‘One of the great things about our team was even though we were very diverse, when we walked on that field, we became one… Of course there were clicks within the team, but Coach Shula did a great job of keeping everyone focused.’