2 Corinthians 5:15
“He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
This week, I was asked to lead a devotion at the opening practice of a Little League All Star team. The team has selected a great verse from 1 Corinthians 12:12 as their team verse. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” The coach wanted me to help the players understand what this verse means as believers and as baseball players. Thus, when I arrived, I have all the players line up around home plate and lay out in front of them their different pieces of baseball equipment. I asked them to pick up the bat first and asked, “What if this was the only piece of equipment you could use – on offense or defense? They tried to figure out ways you could use the bat on defense – but it wouldn’t work. Then I asked, “What if you could only use the glove to hit the ball? What if all you could use was the baseball? What if you had to use your bare hands to hit the ball?” The point is obvious. Each piece of equipment has its purpose and is needed for the game. In the same way, each player has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. No one player makes the team. This was true even for the great Michael Jordan. The Bulls didn’t win till he learned to play as part of the team. All the players on the team are important. Team is not all about anyone of us – not all about me or you.
That’s true in Church and in life. God has not designed us so that we don’t need other people. He has not designed us to be able to make it on our own. Church and life are not all about me… or you. We forget that far too often, to everyone’s harm. I know I do. In fact, I forgot this the other night at a Church meeting. I was advocating a certain program. I firmly believe I was leading in the right direction. At one point, however, I made it all about whether people were agreeing with me. I said, “Well if you don’t want to do this, that’s fine. But you won’t have my support.” I have thought about it since and realized that with that statement – I made it all about me… about me having this ridiculous need to have everyone agree with me… For some reason, many times in order to feel good about ourselves, we have this need to have everyone see it our way. That’s the very definition of co-dependence. The reason for wanting as many to be together on the issue was not my need… or shouldn’t have been. It was the fact that this program is the right thing and what God wants us to do. It’s about Him, not me!
We all forget that. We all fall in to the trap of making it all about me. I have seen it again and again in churches. Someone doesn’t get their way. The church goes in a different direction. That person walks out in protest, or threatens, “Well then maybe I need to go to a different church.” In other words, maybe I need to take my ball and go home. I have couples come in for marriage counseling. Almost inevitably the most use word will be “me.” “He doesn’t listen to me.” “She is always trying to control me.” ME! ME! ME! God did not design marriage to be all about me or you. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” “Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” He wants marriage to be all about Him so that we can love and serve the other person. Another example – in hard times people ask, “God why is this happening to me? Why are you doing this to me? What did I do to deserve this?” God’s answer is, “Life is not all about you.” That’s the point of the opening verses of John 9. As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
This wanting to life to be all about me is at the heart of sin. Our first parents took the fruit and ate it because they wanted to be like God. They wanted their lives to be all about them, not Him. That’s why Jesus came… to change all that. Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He refused not to make life all about Him. He came “not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” He got up and washed the feet of the disciples. He prayed in the Garden, “Never the less, not my will but thy will be done.” He died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose again that all who believe in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.”
Why did Jesus do all this? “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” This is such an important life lesson. When we make life all about ourselves – we make ourselves and everyone miserable. We so dissension and conflict. The truth is God created us to be servants and not masters… to submit to His way not demand ours… Remember that team, or church or life is not all about you or me. It’s about Him!