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
Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, one of the world's largest cruise ships, is over 1,100 feet long and carries more than 4,300 guests at full occupancy. Its restaurants serve thousands of meals every day. And the ship's laundry cleans just as many towels, sheets and table linens. Supporting this floating city are hundreds of talented, hard-working crew members--all dedicated to making their guests' vacations as fun and memorable as possible. The ship's complement also includes an army of stewards, cooks, mechanics and even daycare attendants...and that's not to mention everyone assigned to navigate the ship. From captain to cabin boy, every crew member onboard has a critical role in helping their vessel sail effortlessly through both calm seas and choppy waters.
Like a full-service cruise ship, the church also needs plenty of dedicated, gifted people who work together toward a common goal. That's because we're more than just a group of people who meet on Sundays to listen to the pastor and sing along with the music director. The Bible tells us that God has given every Christ-follower certain gifts, talents and resources for advancing His Kingdom on Earth. Some are obvious--like singers and musicians leading worship with the band. Others have important gifts with behind-the-scenes applications like bookkeepers and office managers, who help the church to use its resources more efficiently. 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 diverse crew from many walks of life. Some were fishermen and one was a tax collector. Even Jesus Himself had carpentry skills. And when we fast-forward 2,000 years, Christ is still seeking those who are willing to represent Him in our community and serve others by using the gifts and resources God has given them.
"Come, follow me," Jesus once told fishermen Peter and Andrew, "and I will make you fishers of men."If we're willing to follow the example of the first disciples and open ourselves to the great possibilities ahead, Jesus will no doubt use us to lead and strengthen His Church. It's when we all work together with a unity of purpose that community occurs and amazing things happen. So it's now up to each of us to respond to His simple--yet radical--invitation to join His crew.
Are you onboard? The Captain's call is for all hands on deck.