We runners are naturally obsessed with our sport. Go to any big road race and you'll see literally thousands of runners all doing the same thing. I snapped this picture at the Chicago Marathon.
This one comes from the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincy.
And this one I snapped in the nation's capital during the Marine Corps Marathon.
Take a look at the runners in each of these photos. What do they share in common? Nothing! They come in all body sizes, ages, and sexes. Yet they all figure out how to get the job done. Some runners look like Greek gods when they run. Most of us don't. We shuffle down the road, oblivious to form. Where I run -- at the middle or the back of the pack -- few of us move with grace. But we are just as much runners as the elite athletes way up ahead of us. We have our part to play in this great sport of ours, and ain't nobody gonna stop us.
It is in this connection that we need to consider what the New Testament teaches about ministry. All Christians are called to fulltime ministry. And the truth is that God calls all different kinds of people to all different kinds of ministries. It is this reciprocal ministry that causes the church to flourish. This truth should not only humble but inspire us. True, we all have different temperaments, personalities, and interests. We have different ability levels. And yet we have this in common (see 1 Cor. 12:4-6):
- We have the same Spirit who is the source of our gifts.
- We have the same Lord whom we all serve.
- We have the same God and Father who works in all of us to accomplish his will.
Put another way, believers form a partnership in the gospel in terms of mutual ministry. So we keep asking ourselves, How can I best contribute to the success of the whole? Am I serving faithfully, or am I abdicating that role to others?
I hope we are agreed that all Christians are ministers. There are to be no gurus in the Christian church. We are all servants of one Master.