Friday, March 18, 2011

World's Greatest Extra



You've probably seen Jesse Heiman before. You just might not have known it. He's been in nearly 50 movies or TV shows, but he's only an extra, usually on screen for only a few moments as a strange side character. He's not a famous movie star, but he is inclined to be in scenes with them.

In the American church, we have this tendency to put certain dynamic leaders on pedestals. They write the books, speak at the conferences, have their own Facebook fan page and a multitude of Twitter followers. We might think that they're the important folks in the kingdom of God. It might leave us to conclude that if we don't have a national platform or a best-selling book, that our leadership is inherently flawed. Even worse, we could start to believe it might be a direction reflection on our faith or God's activity in our lives. We start to compare ourselves with others and we keep coming up short.

This is why passages like 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 are a great reminder of how God defines His church:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 

Maybe I'm a foot. Maybe you're a hand. Maybe that guy over there is a pancreas. Just like Jesse Heiman, we might feel overshadowed by those around us. We're just extras. Yet remember this: Even if we're an extra in the kingdom of God, we're still in the kingdom of God. We are valuable, deeply loved, lavished with grace, and created for a purpose. In whatever role God has us, in whatever calling He's bestowed, let us lead with humility and grace, not playing the comparison game, but being the world's greatest extra in the kingdom.

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