I grew up loving sports and all that went with it. As a teenager in Australia, I played cricket, football (rugby league), soccer, and tennis. Later, I took up golf. I was never a great player, but I enjoyed them all.
Starting back when I was about eight years old, I began to follow the local rugby league team, which is now called the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs. I can still recall the names of some of the star players in teams going back over 60 years.
When I came to America, I had to familiarize myself with new sports, including baseball and American football. I must confess that football was initially strange. It took some time to get used to the stops and starts that were suited for commercial TV advertisements. Also, the concept of having both an offensive and defensive team was different. In Australia, the game was continuous as the team stayed on the field all the time, playing both offense and defense but with no time outs.
However, I soon began to catch on to how football was played, and to this day, I am an enthusiastic MN Vikings fan. Many people have heard me say that I have asked the Lord if I could live long enough to see the Vikings win the Super Bowl. They played in four Super Bowls in the 70s but lost them all. When sharing this request with people, they would laugh, saying, “If you are waiting for the Vikings to win the Super Bowl, you must be planning to live to 120 years.” Well, I live in faith and am still expecting to see them win someday soon.
My wife, Dorothy, grew up in England, where they played soccer. She found football in America quite confusing. On one occasion during the playoffs, Vikings wide receiver Quadray Ismael and his lovely wife Holly were in our home watching the game with us. Dorothy, who had been in the kitchen preparing food, came back into the living room just as there was a series of running plays. A running back, if I remember correctly, Emmit Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, kept running up the middle straight into a pile of players, taking them with him. Dorothy, after watching this for a while, stated, “All they do is run into each other and fall over.” That was her perception of American football.
One of the features of American football that intrigued me was the place and importance of the quarterback. To me, it seemed as though he was the most valuable player on the team. He was involved in every play, and great football teams almost always had a great quarterback.
As I have contemplated the role of the quarterback in the football team, this thought came to my mind, “Not everyone is a Quarterback.” Now, it is obvious that a 300-pound offensive lineman would not make a good quarterback. I also recognized that, in addition to the quarterback, you needed specialized players, players who knew both how to play their position and also work together as a team. Be it a wide receiver or a defensive lineman. Without the right players around him, a great quarterback will not always lead the team to victory. No matter how good the quarterback is, you still need a team of players to work with him to achieve a win.
But, what if everyone wanted to be the ‘quarterback?’ Well, you definitely would not have a very effective team. For it is when everyone knows their place on the team and functions together with the other players, that they can become a great them. Hence, the simple realization that “Not everyone is a Quarterback.”
Everyone has a place. You might even say that each person has a special position, a unique role they are to play. If they know what their role is, if they develop their skills to play that position well, and if they learn to work together as a team, you will then have the basis for a successful team.
Now, let’s carry this concept of “Not everyone is a Quarterback” over to our understanding of being members of a body of believers.
NOT ALL ARE QUARTERBACKS IN THE BIBLE
Paul sets this out clearly in I Corinthians 12, where he teaches that there is unity and diversity in the Body of Christ. He points out that the body is one and has many members (v 12), so the body is not one member but many.
Then using the example of the human body having many members, Paul talks about the feet, hands, ears, and eyes as he declares, “But now God has set the members each one of them in the body just as he pleases” (v18). He even asks the question, “If we were all one member, where would the body be” (v19). Finally, he says, “Now, you are the body of Christ and members individually (v 27). So you see, we are not all meant to be quarterbacks in the team (see Ephesians 4). That is up to God to choose to put someone in that position. It is up to us to discover our particular calling or our place in the team and then fulfill that calling by the grace of God to the very best of our ability.
The tragedy is that in the church, we don’t always recognize what Paul was saying. Let me give you one example.
Often the preachers and even the pastor will declare that everybody is to be an evangelist and begin winning people to Christ. Actually, the Bible doesn’t say that. In Ephesians 4:11, it declares that “He Himself gave some to be evangelists.” Note, not all have the calling and hence the gifting and the anointing to be an evangelist.
John Burton, in an article in Charisma Magazine, said, “The church I mentioned put strong pressure on everyone in the body to evangelize always in every environment. The problem? Evangelists are wired, gifted, and anointed to do this. The rest are gifted in other areas, and they should be free to minister mostly according to how they are put together by God” (charismanews.com).
In actual fact, in Acts 1, which records Jesus’ last words to His followers regarding the promise of the Holy Spirit, said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses (emphasis mine).”
Every believer, by their life, their actions, and their words is meant to be a witness for Jesus and the Gospel, but not everyone is called and anointed to be an evangelist.
The church needs to recognize and release those who are called to be evangelists. We need to encourage them and support them with prayer and intercession. At the same time, let all believers be witnesses. Let me share an illustration as how being a witness can lead someone to Christ.
AN ELDERLY LADY – A WITNESS
Dr. David Jeremiah has a wonderful story of a man coming to receive Christ. “One Sunday the powerful Scottish preacher, Alexander Maclaren, spotted a well-known skeptic in the audience. The man attended several Sundays and made a profession to receive Christ as his Savior. Maclaren asked which message had brought the man to that decision. “Your sermons, sir, were helpful,” replied the man, “but they were not what finally persuaded me to become a Christian. A few weeks ago as I was leaving church, I noticed an elderly lady with a radiant face. Because she was making her way with difficulty along the icy street, I offered to help her. As we walked along together, she looked up at me and said, ‘I wonder if you know my Savior, Jesus Christ? He is everything in the world to me. I want you to love Him, too.’ Those few words touched my heart, and when I got home, I knelt down and received the Savior.”
Even those in the grip of sin and frailty can recognize a true believer in Jesus Christ. When they see the joy of Christ in our life, it becomes a convicting moment. There’s a sermon in the holy smiles of God’s faithful people.
If you go about doing good, speaking love and truth, radiant with His Spirit, they will be reading in you the Gospel after all. Vance Havner” (davidjeremiah.org)
With the help of the Holy Spirit, discover your calling, your gifting, what is it that God has called you to do and be. And then just do it! It may be in the realm of teaching, praying, worship, children’s ministry, youth work, hospitality, helps, evangelism, etc. Work together in a team, and together, you can be a winning team for Jesus. Remember, not everyone can be a quarterback!