About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
There's an old
baseball adage that says pitching and defense win baseball games.
Well, I've followed MLB baseball since 1978 and pitching and
defense may win a game or two but it takes more than that to be a
successful baseball team over the length of a 162 game season.
manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1968 to 1982 and again in the 1985
1986 season insisted that it was the three run home run that wins baseball
games. Well, during Weaver's
lengthy leadership of the Orioles his team only won the World Series once,
and that was 1970. Being a
winning baseball team over a long season takes each player achieving to
his full potential at whatever position he plays.
A team, therefore, is as successful as its least successful player.
baseball team requires good starting pitching, relief pitchers that can
come into the game at a moment's notice, and a closer with nerves of
steel. Each defensive position
must be manned by skilled athleticism.
The batting line-up has to be a balance between home run hitters,
single and double hitters, fast runners, and good base stealers.
The catcher is the leader on the field.
He not only has to understand his pitcher's abilities and the next
pitch to be thrown, he must be aware of base runners and all that is
taking place on the field. A
lot of thought, expertise, and athleticism, goes into a winning baseball
The Apostle Paul
often used sporting analogies to make his point.
If he were around today he might use baseball or football to make a
point. Football would be a
good analogy. The ball is
kicked to your team. Someone
on your team catches the ball and runs with it, twists his way through the
defensive team, and within seconds is flattened to the ground, only to
pick himself up and do it all over again.
Like a baseball team, a football team require each player performing
at his position to his potential.
What applies to a
baseball and football team applies to church.
A successful expression of the local community of Christ requires
everyone knowing and functioning in his place of ministry.
Like sports teams, the Body of Christ is as effective as its most
ineffective member. This is
what Paul seems to be saying in 1 Corinthians 12 when he encourages his
readers to both know and function in their place of ministry in the local
expression of church. For
Paul, church was not a matter of meetings.
It was a matter of ministry.
In 1 Corinthians 12
Paul lists nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit and a number of
ministries given to individuals for the health of the Body of Christ.
As there are many parts in our physical bodies, there are many and
varying members in the church, each having his sphere of responsibility.
Church is more than
a matter of meetings. Like a
successful baseball team, a successful church requires each and every
member both knowing and functioning in his ministry.
Is that our approach to church?
As in baseball terms, church is more than pitching and defense.