“Just as a body, though one has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
Today, like most days, I got out of bed early, made some coffee and sat down to read my Bible and other studies. I discovered Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life years ago, but because I tend to lose focus at times of the “oh look, there’s a bunny” variety, I’ve never finished the book. The point of it is to take a forty day journey into self-discovery and develop a closer relationship with God. I'm really liking the book because it puts things in my life into perspective.
I’m on day four so far (fingers crossed), titled “Made to Last Forever.” I read about how we aren’t made for just the here and now but are made to serve God’s purpose into eternity. This earth is only the starting point in our journey of what’s to come. Rick Warren describes what we should be focused on in terms of eternity instead of what we typically focus on in our short lives here.
So I started thinking about my own purpose and talked to God for about an hour before I believe He gave me an epiphany about what I was saying. I thought of an iceberg and the typical analogy about the surface being only a small part of the whole. Then, I pictured a basketball net situated directly above the top of the iceberg. Strange I suppose, but it made sense the more I thought about it.
As we know, there is only a small sheet of ice sticking out of the water in comparison to the rest on the top of an iceberg. I think of people as a unit as the surface layer and God as the remainder bringing us all together into one piece of ice joined with Him. Though people make up only a fraction of the bulk, our purpose in being here is nonetheless very important. We are One, and every flake of snow sticks together in a snowball of purpose; every shot we make in the net above adds to the score board.
The game of basketball is made up of teams. Each member is important, no matter what their position, to the overall success of winning the game. Each point adds to the ultimate victory in the end, and as long as the team focuses on this goal they’ll play successfully. In sync, the team is unstoppable, and the work the coach puts into ensuring each player develops the strength and skill to play their position shows.
When people serve their God-given purpose in life, they make continuous perfect shots into the net above the iceberg. Their efforts are added to the surface steadily growing its mass over time. Every single shot matters because we are brought together as individuals serving one singular purpose of advancing God’s kingdom bringing each of us a sense of fulfillment in what we do. We are truly one body, and when the group succeeds, it benefits all. Shot after shot, our snowballs help solidify the surface of the iceberg as we offer our unique gifts to it.
I firmly believe that all people want to be loved and accepted for what they bring to the world. They want to know that who they are matters. Nobody wants to feel or be seen as a nobody. We weren’t designed by our awesome Creator to be losers, but unfortunately many don’t see the value in themselves. They believe the lies they’ve heard about who they are, or they’ve been pushed down too many times by life’s circumstances and heartbreak to feel worthy of more.
What many don’t understand is that they personally have something unique to offer this world, something only they are capable of giving it. Their position on the team matters. Even when someone chooses not to play the game, their decision pertaining to the whole of humanity makes a difference. Getting side-tracked and choosing to follow the important things of this world instead of their true purpose for eternity matters. Every choice we make either adds to the top of the iceberg or it doesn’t, and playing half-heartedly will not help the team. Half-hearted attempts to participate take away from the whole point of the game.
You might say that the contribution you make in the game doesn’t really make a difference. Think of it this way though; if everyone else felt the same way, what would happen? Nothing, that’s what. We’d all be sitting on the benches or in the audience wondering where the players are. There’d be no game. We'd automatically forfeit by not showing up.
God gave us the gift of free will to be used as we choose. Granted, there are times when we must take a break and sit on the side-lines because we are too tired or to give someone else a chance to shine, but we aren’t supposed to stay there indefinitely. We have to make an effort to get back in the game when we’re ready. We have to add to the mound of solidarity on the iceberg that purposeful work brings.
The enemy in this world doesn’t want us to know about any of this. He is the star player of the opposing team trying to score on us in any way that he and his teammates can. He plays dirty, not caring about being fair or playing by the rules. He’s the bully who knocks you to the ground when you play.
But, there’s good news! The leader of humanity’s team is Jesus Christ, and by playing honestly and by the rules, He has already claimed the victory of our team. By choosing to follow His lead, we discover the good gifts God's given us. Only He shows us our unique purpose in being here. The only other option is to keep maneuvering around the court hoping to get the chance to shine. The choice is yours. Do you want the sure thing, or do you want to play aimlessly wondering whether you’ll make a difference in the score?
The iceberg is our court. God is our coach. He watches from the side cheering us on, knowing that if we work together in unity we can accomplish all that He created us for. The word ‘loser’ isn’t part of His team’s vocabulary. With His sure guidance, the result is nothing but net. As one body, we have the ability to bury the enemy under the snow pile of our success, and with the help of our team captain, Jesus Christ, the enemy and his teammates will be pushed to the edge of the iceberg forced into the water of the frigid sea. I don’t know about you, but defeating the enemy never looked so good.
"BibleGateway." 1 Corinthians 12 NIV - - Bible Gateway. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.
Warren, Richard. The purpose-driven life: what on earth am I here for? Lake Forest, CA: PurposeDriven, 2002. Print.