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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snowy trail 2/3/10
Snowy trail along Meeting House Road, across from our home.
I took this pleasant walk yesterday.

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"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us" (Romans 12:6).

Snapping turtleThe title of today's encouragement may lead many people to believe I am going to write something about turtles.  Not true!  Non-football fans may elect to skip the illustrative part of today's encouragement message and go right down to the last four paragraphs. I don't mind you skipping out on a sports illustration, but I wouldn't want you to miss out on our biblical message today.

Those of us who enjoy football look forward to this weekend where we have opportunity to root for our favorite team during the "Super Bowl".  Now if I were to ask even nominal football fans, "Who are the quarterbacks for each team?" they'd promptly respond with the familiar names. Avid fans would likely name other star players as well.

But what if I asked, "Who is the longsnapper for each team?" Very few could tell me since that position is one of the least prominent on a football team.

LongsnapperThe longsnapper is the player who snaps the football on the special team for PAT's, (point after attempts) field goals and punts. Since in many games the score is close their skill in snapping the ball accurately into the hands of the holder is critically important.  Games have been lost due to longsnapper error and won because of his proficiency, although he scarcely gets much credit.  Consider how many times you've stood around the water cooler with your fellow employees the morning after the big game and discussed the athletic ability of the longsnappers?

It's that way in the Body of Christ.  The Bible says, "We have different gifts."  Some have gifts that are prominent like famous preachers, singers, authors, etc.  They're like the quarterbacks of God's Kingdom.  We tend to value these gifts and often hold these people in high esteem since they're most prominent in God's Kingdom work.  And I am indeed thankful for prominent members of the Body whom God has blessed mightily with certain gifts.

But most of us have gifts that are less prominent.  Only a tiny, tiny percentage of the Church even knows who we are!  We're like longsnappers, whom most people don't pay a lot of attention to.  But every one of us has gifts we are called to use to advance God's Kingdom. 

Matthew Henry further elaborates on this thought (long before there was football!):  "In the spiritual body, some are fitted for and called to one sort of work; others for another sort of work. We are to do all the good we can, one to another, and for the common benefit. If we duly thought about the powers we have, and how far we fail properly to improve them, it would humble us. But as we must not be proud of our talents, so we must take heed lest, under a pretense of humility and self-denial, we are slothful in laying out ourselves for the good of others. We must not say, I am nothing, therefore I will sit still, and do nothing.  I am nothing in myself, and therefore I will lay out myself to the utmost, in the strength of the grace of Christ. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come."

All believers are part of the greatest team in the ultimate contest and every contribution makes a difference.  We'll see how it all fit together much more clearly when we reach the other side.  Appreciate what God is doing in You as He develops, grows and uses the gift(s) He has bestowed upon You.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we recognize and thank You that little is much when You are in it.  Your grace is measured out to us in the gift(s) You develop in our lives.  Help us not to bemoan or draw comparisons with the gifting You've entrusted to us, for that would bring about resentment and jealousy.  Instead we want to cultivate our gifting and bring glory to Your Name as we also edify the body of Christ. Help us not to look to the gift but to You the Giver of all good things.   Anything we accomplish in this life is a result of Your empowering and enabling us to carry it out, and we do so in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Photo of Mike StillmanMike Stillman is a friend of ours here in Lancaster County. Mike played on the Penn State football team back in the eighties, excelling as a longsnapper and was on a NCAA
national championship team! Here's Mike's testimony.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Little Is Much When God Is In It"  Video  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

"If We Are The Body"
 Video   Casting Crowns

"We Are God's People"  Video  

Information about football's Longsnapper

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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