Exodus 17:8-16 and 18:12-23
February 4, 2018
Sunday’s Super bowl was advertised as a battle of quarterbacks. Two great quarterbacks will lead their teams to try to outsmart and outplay the other. We pay most attention to the quarterbacks because, they have an important job. They need to see the field, they need to read the defense and eventually they need to throw or hand the ball to the player who can make the most yards. If the quarterback doesn’t do his job well, the team may fall apart. But why do we focus on the quarterbacks? After all the two centers also have an important job. They need to read the defense. They need to throw or hand the ball—through their legs to the quarterback all the while knowing that as soon as they move, the defender on the other side is going to hit them as hard as he can to try to disrupt the play. If the centers have a bad day, well you get the idea. The team that wins tonight will be the one whose players work together the best. That’s teamwork, and teamwork is the key to success in sports.
Teamwork is important to our own success as well. Try to think of a time that you did something without any help. It’s about impossible. Even if you did most of the work on your own, someone else often created the resources you used. Others produced the raw materials. You may have cooked the best chicken dinner ever, but did you grow the ingredients? Did you raise the chickens? Most likely someone else did. Your job, whatever it is, relies on others to help you get to work, and to provide for your workspace. Eventually your work needs to be coordinated with others to be useful. Parents especially understand this as they work together to do their best to raise their children.
The children’s song, “I am the Church” describes teamwork as well. “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together, all who follow Jesus All around the world, yes we’re the church together.” We are called the Body of Christ for a reason.
Moses started out knowing that he couldn’t lead the Israelites out of Egypt by himself. But as he grew in faith, he took on a God and me against the world attitude. By the time Israel got to the wilderness, Moses believed that the responsibility for saving the Israelites was his alone. He met with God alone, he prayed alone, he judged alone and it all wore him out. When the Israelites met the Amalekites in battle, Moses prayed while Joshua and the warriors fought. Moses was the first prayer warrior. His prayers encouraged Israel. When they saw Moses’s hands aloft in prayer, Israel prevailed, when they saw him fading, they faded as well. Soon, he and his companions realized that he needed help. Aaron and Hur saved the day by holding Moses’s hands up while Israel fought. Later, when Moses’s father-in-law Jethro came and saw how Moses judged Israel and how it wore him out (and frustrated Israel) Jethro showed him a better way. It seemed to Jethro that Moses believed that he was the only one who sought God continually. He was the only one who could judge Israel. It also seemed the rest of Israel was happy to let him judge because that meant they could go about their own lives and only consider God when God directly impacted their lives.
Jethro explained to Moses that that was not the way God intended. He explained that God set the standard for Israel. Moses as the leader was responsible for teaching Israel the rule of life that pleased God. Then Moses was to empower other Godly judges to judge Israel as they went about their lives. That brought about quicker justice and left Moses to decide only the most important matters.
Today we have many people who have that God and me against the world attitude. Don’t get me wrong. God is the most important member on our team or any team and God has the power to work however God pleases. But God does not choose to use us as individuals. God empowers us and chooses us to work as a team. We are the body—not the bodies—of Christ. God has given each of us gifts to use along with the gifts of others to lead the world to the Kingdom of God. God has empowered us, and has called each of us, to work as a team. We are all called to work together for God’s glory. Each of us is critical to the success of the Missio Dei, the mission of God. God calls us all to be actively involved in this body. Unlike the teams in the Super bowl there are no bench sitters on God’s team.
God calls us all to work for God’s kingdom because there is so much work to do. God has called each of us at Andrew Chapel. Just think about all of the people involved in our worship service this morning, there are communion stewards, altar guild, musicians, liturgists, acolytes, ushers, greeters, pastor, prayer warriors, someone to make bulletins, and worshippers all work together to worship God. But our worship extends beyond an hour on Sunday: We are to glorify God in all we do. We need people to help our members grow: teachers, care circles, prayer warriors, fellowship event coordinators. These are all part of the church’s mission. We need people to share the Gospel with those who haven’t heard it: evangelists, encouragers, people to witness through their daily lives, prayer warriors, mission volunteers to make the Gospel real and practical to those we witness to.
We are blessed that we have many of these people in our church. But some are like Moses, they have been doing their best for so long that they are worn out. They need the rest of us to help. God’s plan requires all of us to be part of God’s team, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.(Ephesians 2:8-10, NRSV)” God has made you and me to work together to make disciples of all nations. Are you ready to be a part of God’s team? Amen