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MAY 21 | Acts 15:6-14, 19


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION


The Family of God—a Team Sport!

by Mary Kate Hipp


I never played a team sport. Surely, my parents tried, but I opted for piano lessons, and theatre, and tennis. I also hated group projects so if I had the option, I worked by myself (because I knew I would do all the work anyway in a group). As a child, I spent most of my days frolicking around in my parents wooded backyard, catching frogs in our creek, and playing independently with my American Girl Dolls. I am a fairly independent person. Team metaphors and illustrations are often lost on me. It never occurred to me that this fundamentally impacted my theology of the Church and of the body of Christ.


In America, we also tend to think solo-minded--"me first" mentality. Only recently have I realized I don't think I know what it means to be a part of a team. And perhaps we all struggle a little to understand what it means to be one united family of God because of this egotistical mindset we all share.


As we read in this account of the Jerusalem Council the apostles and elders are essentially debating the unity of the family of God. Are the gentiles "good enough"(have they done enough works/jumped through enough legalistic hoops/been circumcised) to be a part of the family of God? In other words, can they possibly be "one of us?" The answer is simple: an emphatic YES. In Christ there is unity. Only God, who knows our hearts, bears witness to us by giving us the Holy Spirit (who unifies us as a family of God). Who are we to determine if others can be a part of the family of God? Who are we to determine what qualifies others to make the cut? We cannot. We are like a team that is to grow in unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, Christ (Eph. 4:13, 15).


I started by sharing my independent tendencies to illustrate that I sometimes become selfish in my theology of the Church and of others. I grow jealous of other believers; I put myself on a pedestal; I forget that we as a body are a team. We are all saved by the same Spirit. We are all sinners who daily fall short of the glory of God. God has searched all of our hearts and bore witness to all of us by giving us the Spirit that there may no longer be any divisions amongst us. No one can say to another Christian that they are better or holier or more righteous or more deserving of grace because in the end, we are all equally in desperate need for the grace of the Father.


We are a team, called by grace, to glorify God and make Him known. We are saved not by anything we have done, or could ever do. We are called to be on this team by the grace of God alone. Amen?


Let us spur one another on this team by encouraging one another in faith!


PRAYER

Lord may we, unlike our selfish desires, grow in unity and in the knowledge of God the Son. May you remind us of your grace that we do not earn but are freely given as a gift. Amen.




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1 Comment


Maevarish
Maevarish
May 21

Oh to be so young in earthy years yet so wise biblically! You are so ‘right on’ that God calls us to join together as a team with one another and go share the good news of Christ!

Thank you Mary Kate! 💖

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