On July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, he was the focus of attention for the entire planet. Even today, his name is most associated with the moon voyage. His statement, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” will never be forgotten. What is forgotten is that the Apollo mission succeeded because a large and committed team of members sacrificed day and night for years to make it happen. Neil Armstrong was only one of over 218,000 people who worked on the Apollo project. He received most of the recognition, but he would be the first to tell you – – it was a team effort. It’s the same at Church. The Church is a team sport and to do the work God has called us to do, we must work together as a team.
Ephesians 4:11-12, “11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”
The Church is a team sport. To succeed as a church and as individuals, we must develop a Team Player attitude. In Ephesians 4, Paul shows us how to do this. He wrote ~
1. Be completely humble and gentle;
2. be patient, bearing with one another in love.
That seems simple, but it’s not so easy to do. Paul is not just telling us to be humble and gentle and patient. He’s telling us to always be humble, gentle, and patient! Always is not so easy, is it? Paul said, “Be humble.” That means having an attitude that says the team is more important than me. Paul said, “Be gentle.” That means having an attitude that demonstrates power with reserve and gentleness. Paul said, “Be patient.” That’s the attitude that means I will not be short-tempered, but I will be long-tempered. Life is a team sport, and our job is to encourage everyone on the team — when they hit a home run and when they strike out with the bases loaded. When you read the gospels, it doesn’t take long to realize how Jesus’ disciples were always messing up. James and John wanted to be first, Peter was still too quick to act or speak, Simon the Zealot was impatient, all of the others at one time or another showed cowardice, lack of faith, jealousy, and spiritual thick-headedness. Yet, Jesus kept them all. Despite their faults, these men eventually were the leaders of the early Church. They were instrumental in changing the world. They didn’t always get what Jesus was talking about, they struggled to make sense of His message, yet over a few years, they went from being weak and afraid to bold and strong.
What would have happened if Jesus had given up on them in the early days? Who would have fulfilled the Great Commission? Who would have carried on the work Jesus began? Jesus refused to give up on his disciples, despite all their mistakes. He knew that eventually, they would become the men they were capable of becoming. He saw them in terms of their potential, not their past. And you and I are here today because His patience paid off. Are you living your life in a way that Jesus would be pleased? Or are you living your life in a way that says, “Jesus, you’ll have to be patient until I’m ready”?
Go to Romans Road to Salvation and/or Prayer of Rededication