Last Thursday was opening day for Major League Baseball, and, on that day, something happened that had never before occurred in the history of American professional sport—any sport. As the Detroit Tigers took on the New York Yankees at the big ballpark in the Bronx, three Yankees—Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera—began their 17th year as teammates together on the same team. No other franchise in American pro sports can claim such a record for longevity for three of their players together. In this day of free agency, player movement, shortened careers, and quick-triggered trades, it is one of the most impressive records most fans will never hear about—and it is not likely to ever be broken. These three players have not only been the faces of that storied franchise, they have been the model of teammates—for each other as well as for the dozens of other players who have worn Yankee pinstripes during that remarkable 17-year run which has encompassed 5 World Series championships. It is a tremendous testament to what can happen when great players are committed to the team.
The same is true in the Body of Christ. Being committed to the Body instead of being committed to self-advancement and personal achievement is absolutely vital for spiritual service. Paul wrote of this devotion that rises beyond self when he said:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4).
In Christ, we have the privilege of being part of something bigger and greater than ourselves. However, it is only to the degree that we learn to be committed to the Body—not just to self—that we will be effective in serving one another and representing Christ in the world. As Harry Truman famously said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That is the heart attitude that is committed to our team, the Body of Christ.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain