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; the body takes flight; left-hand guides ball into the right hand as the 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 the ball takes flight. This is a story of unity.
Unity Within the Body
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 – its 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 win! 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 went unnoticed were all the nameless working parts that came together to make this shot go down as one of greatness. We see unity. When the body parts are working together in perfect unison, doing what they are created to do, the head is glorified. 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. God 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 the eternity [sarcasm intended].
I’ve kept this wisdom in mind over the years. In fact, those words have surfaced again and caused me to reflect upon observations I’m seeing around me.
I used to get pretty 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 together under the submission of the Head… Ballgame!
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 was created to play a beautiful part in it. Created to be in unity with one another.
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 picture of unity. 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 its job, to work together for 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
We have a responsibility and a privilege to celebrate every time the Body of Christ accomplishes something, which results in the head being glorified. 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 had the opportunity to write for this website and recently had a post published. I’ll be honest in saying I became a bit self-absorbed initially, wondering what God was doing “in my life.”
Reality Check! There are so many people out there who have 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 the reasons I say God is so awesome is because He possesses that big picture we don’t have. It’s much bigger than my little perspective can handle. I’m thankful I serve a God whose world is much bigger than what I can become preoccupied with. It wreaks 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 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, you are liable to hear questions about rings, championships, and personal legacy. I sometimes wonder if Christianity is walking a dangerously parallel line with this thinking.
My church…my ministry…my calling…my spiritual giftings…
Spiritual competition can enter into the picture when this kind of thinking isn’t in check. I go to THIS church. Well, 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. We win together in unity with each other.
Take a Moment Here…
Take a moment and look at the people around you who are trusting in the Lord and stepping out in their gifts. Celebrate those victories because when our Lord is glorified, we 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. When Christ is glorified in all of these small efforts, we all get to celebrate because the Body wins!
A Challenge to Spiritual Fathers
If you are given a ministry platform, use it to promote the work of God going on all around you. A father desires to see his kids soar to greater heights, to witness those who come after to advance further. Why? We’re part of a story greater than the sum of our accomplishments alone.
We have an invitation into the greatest story ever told! If a person is doing Kingdom work, rally around the efforts for Christ to gain a greater victory in unity. Sibling rivalries are not for our family. Think of how you can promote the efforts of those around you. Then 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.