I Corinthians 12: 4 Now tthere are varieties of gifts, but uthe same Spirit; 5 and vthere are varieties of service, but uthe same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is uthe same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 wTo each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of xwisdom, and to another the utterance of yknowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another zfaith by the same Spirit, to another agifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another bthe working of miracles, to another cprophecy, to another dthe ability to distinguish between spirits, to another evarious kinds of tongues, to another fthe interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, gwho apportions to each one individually has he wills.As I think about the ingenious analogy here and as I contemplate all of the interesting principles here, I am once again in awe of God's Word.
12 For just as ithe body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, jso it is with Christ. 13 For kin one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—lJews or Greeks, slaves4 or free—and mall were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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? 18 But as it is, nGod arranged the members in the body, each one of them, oas he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,5 yet one body.
21 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.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, pall rejoice together.
27 Now qyou are the body of Christ and individually rmembers of it. 28 And sGod has appointed in the church firsttapostles, second uprophets, third teachers, then vmiracles, then wgifts of healing, xhelping, yadministrating, and vvarious kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But zearnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
Sometimes, with these words on a screen, we tend to scan. Often when I read an online devotional, I skip the italicized Scripture and read the human commentary- what a dumb choice. As I carefully review what Paul wrote here under the inspiration of God's Spirit, I am so impressed and instructed.
Every championship team I have ever coached was a UNIFIED TEAM. It is pure joy to coach young men who pour themselves into a quest, with little regard to their personal stats or roles. Some have said that T.E.A.M. is an acronym for 'Together Everyone Accomplishes More'. We have a saying at BCS- "BIG TEAM- little me". There are important keys to developing these mindsets. I want to use some of this passage to highlight these keys.
- EVERYONE HAS ABILITY TO GIVE SOMETHING
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
One of the enemies greatest attacks is to convince people that they are no good and have nothing to offer. He uses the attacks of bullies or a world of photoshopped magazine covers to beat down image bearers of the divine. Satan has built a system where height, strength, beauty, wealth, fame, popularity gets all the 'good stuff' and the average man or woman lives lives in hunched over body postures and little confidence. THE BIBLE SAYS "NO". God has created you with amazing gifts and abilities. You are made in His image and if you know Christ as Savior, you are an adopted son or daughter of the KING of the UNIVERSE. Which depiction of you are you going to start believing in?
- GOD DISTRIBUTES ABILITY ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN- AND HIS PLAN IS GOOD
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually has he wills.
Don't look at what you don't have...find what you do have. You have a S.H.A.P.E.- spiritual gifts, heart desires, aptitudes, personality, experiences that are unique to you. Believe that, in time, you will discover that shape and use it to build God's kingdom in love and service to others. Don't let the world tell you anything different- God loves you and has a beautiful plan for you (John 10:10).
- A GREAT TEAM IS DEEP AND DIVERSE
Another problem with the world's system is the demand for everyone to be the same. The result is a mediocre middle where those who push ahead or take different paths are scoffed at or ridiculed. At the same time, others feel the pressure to be unique and avoid areas of expertise because others have achieved success in those fields. Both pressures can be mis-guided. Teams need more than one QB ready to play and they need participants in all areas from scout team, to managers and trainers, starters and stars.
My favorite success stories involve players who patiently bore their back-up roles and prepared for the day when they had to step in and win after an injury or need. When the back-up QB comes in and leads the team to victory- it inspires everyone!
- WINNERS RISE ABOVE LABELS, CRITICISM, AND UNTRUE STATEMENTS
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.
This is such an interesting part of the passage. Bodies have parts that are 'weaker' and 'less honorable' and humans keep those parts in discretion and modesty. They are still VERY necessary. And it doesn't matter if the eye declares that it is not a part of the body- it still is.
I apply this in two ways. The saddest times I have had as a coach is when players will talk down to a team mate with a lesser role. One time I had a Junior who was starting over a senior and some members of the team were badgering him about that to the point that he grew deeply depressed. When I found out about it, I hit the roof!
Needless to say, that team was not a very successful team.
But a second part is this: Don't let what others say marginalize you. It is the losers who do those types of things, why worry about what they say?
- TEAM MEMBERS ALLOW THE LEADER TO ARRANGE THEM AS HE WILLS
But as it is, nGod arranged the members in the body, each one of them, oas he chose.
My most successful teams have been willing to trust the coaches to make tough choices about positions or playing time. I had a good friend of mine who would express frustration that God had not allowed him to excel as a christian writer/speaker. He was a talented writer/speaker, but he would take 'snipes' at those who were achieving status in that field.
In the end- godly contentment begins with trusting in God's plan and timing. There was a reason why this friend was not allowed to go in that direction and only God knows all the details why and somewhat foolish for us to speculate or despair.
- THERE IS MUTUAL HONOR OF ALL THE ROLES- NOT JUST THE STARS
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
In 1998 we went 15-0 and won the state championship. My most vivid impression of that team was how they honored every single member of that organization. They loved the managers, filmers, team docs, JV players.... it was 'laughter in the locker room and focus on the field'. Some of that stemmed from our starting running back had a brother in the band who was born with a type of dwarfism. That young man learned early the value of all people. His brother became an accomplished musician and accountant. That was a special team- no one was going to beat them.
- THERE IS A PECKING ORDER- NOT ALL ARE EQUAL
And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
The Bible doesn't sugar coat it- the reality is that there is a pecking order. All are valuable- but there is a first, second, third. All are equal in terms of God's love and care- but some are given more. But that extra talent carries more expectation. Go back and look at the Parable of the Talents.
- IT IS GOOD TO ASPIRE TO GROW IN YOUR ROLE AND EVEN TO MOVE UP
But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
It is OK to have ambition to move up. That kind of drive and aspiration is encouraged. A great friend of mine used to say, "Aim for the stars- you may only hit the moon- but you hit the moon because you were aiming high." Put sweat equity in your labor. Be faithful in the little things. Be a good steward by pushing to constantly improve.
- THE MOST POWERFUL TEAMS RUN ON BIBLICAL LOVE NOT EARTHLY INTIMIDATION, REVENGE, ANGER, OR HATE
I have written on this before: The Link is Here: The Outlaw vs. The Sheriff
Persona style #1 I call the Outlaw coach. He has swagger, instant flash, and media appeal. The rebel side of human nature taps into great zeal and energy. This has been the case throughout history- it’s the bad guy that is most intriguing. They say that Milton was extremely upset that his readers of Paradise Lost became infatuated with Satan more than the other characters.But Paul is about to move to the better way:
Outlaw coaches develop that contra mundum ‘we will fight the whole world’ attitude and it is very effective. Football is a fight, and the warrior energy can be fed with intensity that erupts from the outlaw swagger. Two recent examples of this are Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach. Leach is, in a way, a purer example- his ‘pirate persona’ won over Lubbock and rocked the southwest. The University of Miami tapped into this bad boy power in its dynasty days.
An outlaw coach can build a winner faster than his opposite. Flash, fire, inferno, burn-out – and a long term wasteland left behind.
And I will show you a still more excellent way...LEADING TO I CORINTHIANS 13
My best teams have been teams built on Biblical love. A heartfelt attitude where you care for others and you are motivated to work, sweat, achieve, persevere out of a desire to do it for your brother.
Want to be a winner? Want to be on a winning team?
Believe in yourself as a person whom God has gifted- trust Him- and give yourself fully to a team effort- not caring if you get noticed because God sees you- trust in your leaders- and learn the joy of loving others well enough to lay it on the line for them.
Surround yourself with those types of people and WATCH OUT- you can move mountains!