To carry on the work of Christ in the world requires that we follow His lead.
The motto of the athletic conference Nebraska Christian College was a part of during the time I was playing basketball was: To glorify God is to demonstrate His Character. We need to demonstrate Jesus' character. Read what Jesus prayed right before He was betrayed and handed over to the Jewish rulers:
"My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
"Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
"I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me" (John 17:9-21; NLT).
Jesus prayed for unity among His followers. He knew that unity is required for a doubting and dying world to believe in the love, forgiveness, and restoration of God.
Not only is unity expected of Christ's disciples, but experience also tells us it is the most effective way to accomplish the challenges of life. Consider what basketball coach Pat Riley wrote; "My driving belief is this: great teamwork is the only way to reach our ultimate moments, to create the breakthoughs that define our careers, to fulfill our lives with a sense of lasting significance."
I agree with most of what Riley says. Teamwork enables us to accomplish things we could not do on our own, it helps us raise the bar on what we can do, and it forces us to set and accomplish goals. Teamwork is just as essential for success in the Church as it is on the basketball court.
Bo Boshersin his book about youth ministry wrote; "We are the body of Christ and each of us is uniquely gifted to help build the kingdom." Each one of us is here, part of the Body of Christ because each one of us has a gift that can be used to help the Kingdom of God expand into the world. Don't forget the parable of the talents.
In that parable Jesus reminds us that God has generously provided resources to us to help build God's Kingdom. Even the one talent servant would have received over a million dollars in our economy. One talent was not a small sum of money!
Think about the impact we can have on the world when we unite all our talents and other resources for the one purpose of building for God's Kingdom in this world. Wouldn't our communities, our nation, and our world be a radically better place? We need to unite for God's Kingdom.
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