But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
-- Matthew 6:33
Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, the world's third-largest cruise ship, left its dry dock in Germany to prepare for its maiden voyage from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ. Quantum of the Seas is 1,142 feet long and will carry more than 4,100 guests. Its 18 restaurants will serve thousands of meals each day. And the ship's laundry will clean just as many towels, sheets and table linens.
Supporting this floating city are hundreds of talented, hard-working crew members--all who will be dedicated to making their guests' vacations as fun and memorable as possible. The ship's complement 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 on board 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 dedicated, gifted people who work together toward a common goal. That's because we're much more than a group of people who meet on Sunday mornings to listen to the pastor and sing along with the band. 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 behind-the-scenes applications, such as bookkeepers and office managers who help the church manage its finances. For every gift, talent and resource used in the secular world, there's also one 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 had carpentry skills. And when we fast-forward 2,000 years, Christ still seeks those who are willing to represent Him in our community and serve others by using their God-given gifts and resources.
"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 on board? The Captain's call is for all hands on deck.