Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Join the Crew

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors,
 and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve
and his body would grow strong.
-- Ephesians 4:11-12

Are you one of the millions of people who vacationed on the high seas last year?

Whether you sailed to the Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda or the Greek Isles, the voyage was probably as memorable as some of the ports of call. That's because modern cruise ships are literally 24-hour floating cities populated by thousands of fun-seeking passengers from all over the world. Rising several stories above the water, many large vessels entertain their guests with onboard movie theaters, gourmet restaurants, bustling nightclubs and full service gymnasiums. Some cruise ships even have basketball courts, rock climbing walls and miniature golf courses. And if you're looking for shopping bargains in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, the duty-free store is on Deck 10. Then take the glass and chrome elevator five decks down for your haircut, massage and manicure.

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, one of the world's largest cruise ships, is over 1,100 feet long and serves more than 4,300 guests at full occupancy. Each day, its restaurants serve thousands of meals and its laundry cleans just as many towels, sheets and table linens. And behind it all are hundreds of talented, hardworking crewmembers - all dedicated to making their guests' vacations as fun and memorable as possible. A ship's crew includes an army of stewards, cooks, mechanics and even daycare attendants - and that's not to mention everyone assigned to navigating the ship. From captain to cabin boy, every crewmember has a critical role in helping their vessel sail effortlessly through both calm seas and choppy waters.

Like a full-service cruise ship, God’s church also needs dedicated people to help it operate efficiently and grow its international passenger list. That's because a church is much more than a group of people that meets on Sundays to listen to the pastor and sing along with the musicians. The Bible tells us that God has given each Christ-follower certain gifts, talents and resources for advancing His Kingdom on Earth. Some applications are obvious - like singers and musicians serving in the praise band. Others use their gifts in behind-the-scenes capacities - such as bookkeepers or office managers who help the church use its resources wisely. For every gift, talent and resource employed in the secular world, there's also an application for strengthening the body of believers known collectively as The Church. 
Jesus' earliest followers were a motley crew from many walks of life. Some were fishermen. One was a tax collector. And another might today be called a terrorist. Even the Apostle Paul moonlighted as a tentmaker. Centuries later, Christ continues to seek men and women from every background who are willing to represent Him and serve others through their many gifts, talents, and perspectives. It’s one help wanted ad where everyone is encouraged to apply. And experience isn’t necessary.

"Come, follow me," Jesus told the fishermen Peter and Andrew, "and I will make you fishers of men."

Are you ready to join His crew?

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