The bomb – it’s a beautiful thing! You may be thinking, ‘What? A bomb – beautiful?’ Yes, I’m actually talking about a pass in football, otherwise known as the long bomb. If you don’t watch football, it is a long, distinctly arcing pass that – when completed for a touchdown or score, can be one of the most breathtaking, exhilarating, and graceful moments in sport.
So simple – a pitch and catch, pigskin style. The quarterback drops back and throws the ball – some 40, 50, or even 60 yards down the field a receiver is running full speed – then the timely moment when ball meets hands…and he’s in the end zone – touchdown!
For those who know me well, I’m a football fan. And the purity of the bomb in football is a wonder for those who have an affinity for the sport.
And while the essence of the bomb is simple, the execution is not! You see, it actually takes a coordinated effort by the whole team to make the play work. The center has to snap the ball to the quarterback, the offensive lineman have to block encroaching rushers, the receivers have to run the correct routes, and the quarterback must make the right decision of where to throw the ball. This coordinated effort by the team is headed up by the coach, who has the plan for success.
In the spiritual realm, the Lord coordinates the effort of His ‘team’, otherwise known as the Church, to bring about the salvation of souls. Yet in the spiritual, unlike football, the team members may not have any idea about the efforts of teammates.
I know along my journey to Jesus in the 1980’s, the Holy Spirit brought a number of people into my life, people for whom to this day I’m eternally grateful. For it was through the testimony of people like Mark, Greg, Herb, and Steve that God used to bring me to Himself in December of 1987. And while I can attest that there was no coordinated effort among the above named saints – they never knew each other – it absolutely was an effort coordinated by our Lord!
In our daily witness, we ought have faith to believe that we also are a part of a coordinated effort in reaching people for Jesus. And though we may not be aware of how this team effort is working, we trust that God is working in and through us to save souls, and in the process expanding His Kingdom.
The fascinating dynamic to ponder regarding the work of God and the work of His people in the area of evangelism, is that while we walk by faith, He knows the beginning from the end. Additionally, He is coordinating His body, the Church, to accomplish His will – which in simple terms is to fulfill the Great Commission.
And what of the possibility for success?
Well, Jesus said it was a guarantee – not because we’re such hot stuff – but because He said so:
“I will build My Church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
As the Lord builds His Church, He grows it numerically by ushering people into the Kingdom, accomplishing this work through the evangelistic effort of you and me.
While it takes 11 players on the offense in football coordinating their effort to score a touchdown, the Lord is coordinating the efforts of His people to build His Church.
The Apostle Paul uses the analogy of the human body in sharing insights about this coordinated effort in his first letter to the Corinthian church:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18)
Certainly a word study on ‘body’ in the New Testament will provide a fuller understanding of this foundational aspect of the Christian life. For our purposes, we’re touching upon this truth as it relates to our witness.
As Paul equates you and me as parts of the body, he elaborates on the purpose of the parts working in unison to accomplish a definitive goal:
“…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
The goal being the growth of the body. Qualitatively, this refers to the maturing of the saints. Quantitatively, this highlights adding to the body through the salvation of souls. And it is this quantitative component which is directly related to both our individual and collective witness as His people.
You see, although we may not be aware of how the Lord is coordinating each of individual testimonies, we understand that He is!
As you ponder your witness, seek to fulfill your role in the body. Although our individual witness be be highlighted primarily by one of the following – praying, serving, proclaim the truth and the gospel message in word, or simply manifesting the fruit of the Spirit – it should not be strictly limited to one area.
As you go forth from this reading, be encouraged – the Lord is using our individual evangelistic efforts through the power of His Spirit in a coordinated fashion – as He builds His Church.
And one the first things we’re going to say when we get to glory and grasp the wonder of this reality will be – ‘Of course!’
So carry on brother and sister, tarrying in the field that God has placed you in, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord, for we are on the winning team. Touchdown!
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58)