“WE SHALL NOW PLAY” Pastor YAU
Text: 1 Corinthians
1) You are very successful: A well accomplished organist was giving a concert. (In the olden days someone had to pump large bellows backstage to provide air for the pipes.) After each piece of music, the audience gave him standing ovation heartily. Before the final number, the organist stood in the center of the stage to thank the audience and said, “Now I shall play. . .” and announced the title. He sat down, adjusted the music. With feet poised over the pedals and hands on the keyboard and began to play a might chord. But the organ remained silent. Then he heard a small voice came from the backstage: “Say ‘We’!”
2) But you are not alone: In many aspects of real life, achievements seldom come because of a solo player or a lone ranger. Besides your determination and hard work to make it where you are, there are many others who have contributed to your achievement with or without your recognition. Be it your academic, your family, children, your career or even church achievements, if you have accomplished something extraordinary, it is never the result of you alone. There are many others around you who have given you opportunity or support, convenience or encouragement, resources and opinions and many others you know you won’t make it this far without their contribution.
GOD IS THERE WITH YOU:
1) God also made Eve: Even if you think you were the first on this planet earth like Adam, God still felt it was not good enough for you to be alone so He created Eve to help you make your life easier. In His infinite wisdom, God always provides supporters to His servants in doing His mighty work: Aaron and Joshua to Moses, Jonathan to King David, Elisha to Elijah, Barnabas and Timothy to Paul and in modern days, Cliff Barrow to Billy Graham. Today, God places many people around you, your family, friends, coworkers, fellow believers, etc. to provide you all you need to make who you are today. You may not make it without all these people and their support.
2) God created opportunities: In all events, big and small, we accomplish things in certain environment and opportunity that provides. Few people, if any, are able to create environment or opportunity by themselves to make things happen. God is the only One who controls the world and all events, opportunities in which we live and work. There are many who are as intelligent as you are but didn’t make it because they did not have the opportunity.
3) God gives you wisdom: The simplest definition of wisdom is the ability to learn, to understand, to comprehend and to coordinate all knowledge we are given through different venues. We may be given lots of knowledge, but it is up to your ability to understand, to analyze and to apply them into situations to make knowledge beneficial. We also call wisdom the ability to determine good from bad, right from wrong and to make or choose the right decision. We may try very hard to obtain knowledge, but it is the God given wisdom that helps us to succeed.
4) God keeps you healthy: This is another way we know we are not alone to make things happen. Given all the opportunity, the helpers, the wisdom, you still need one more important element to make it: good health. Yes, we may do all the right things, eat all the right food, do all the necessary exercise, live in the most clean and pollution free city, but none of the above may guarantee your health. Health is more than what man can do. It is the gift of God. Without a good body, I don’t think you are getting anywhere.
So, anytime you achieve something, get something done in a way you feel proud, don’t forget that God was there with you all the way.
THERE ARE MANY OTHERS?
1) Your parents: No one may take away the importance of parents in regard of their children’s success. They provide needs, supplies, the care, the discipline, the security, convenience, support, counsel and many other things parents do to bring up their children to where they are today. Even if your parents do not have the level of education as you have, they play an important role in your success.
2) Your teachers: This includes teachers in school, college, at church and many other places where they taught you, showed you and helped you do things right. In the traditional Chinese culture, teachers occupy a high position only next to parents in terms of raising children to success. Never forget those who taught you, showed you and helped you to make you who you are today.
3) Your supporters: No one climbed up the ladder of success alone. There are many who contributed to your success including those who are below you in rank. If a general is successful in winning battles, there are many lower level officers and soldiers who fought battles fiercely even gave up their lives to make it that way. Without the one who pumps the air, the famous organist can’t play anything.
4) Your family: If you are married, your spouse and children also play an important role in your success. Their support, love, sacrifices and many others helped to put you up there. When I graduated with a doctorate degree from seminary, my wife also received a PHT from the alumni association. PHT represent “Put (the) Husband Through.” Either some academic pursuit or career advancement, your family contributed so much to your success.
IN THE SETTING OF A CHURCH: (Today’s text)
1) We are in one body: The idea that we are in one body is both unique and necessary. It is unique because no other religion claims the close tie between God and His believers except in Christian faith. It is necessary because of our dependency on God for survival. No matter how many parts and how different we are as parts of the body, we are made one in the Lord as the head of the body of Christ, the church. If the human body takes so many parts of different sizes and shapes to make it work, we as the parts of the body of Christ also need to accept and recognize one another.
2) We are of different functions: Jut as different parts of the body has different functions, each member in a church is equally important no matter what position he/she may occupies. They are in the body to contribute different needs of the body—the Church. If you see your church is getting something done properly, it is because of her body was made of many different parts.
3) We are on God’s assignment: In any environment, family, work, school or church, sometimes we have some people we find it hard to deal with. But the Bible says it is God who made the decision on who is going to be where and with whom. () In His infinite wisdom, God purposely places some “difficult” people around us so we may learn lessons on love, forgiveness, patience and kind to mature our spiritual growth. May be your presence with those whom you find hard to love is meant for you to learn just that lesson. God never makes mistakes. He always has a good reason.
4) We need each other to make it: Paul was wise to use the analogy of the human body to illustrate the function and inter-dependency of the parts. No part of the body alone may make the body to function properly or efficiently. It takes many parts to move an arm or lift a leg or open the mouth. Without the support of all the parts, the body will never function properly. Without the support of all the people around you, you can achieve very little. That is why there is no superstar in a church no matter how successful it may be. It is the result of contribution of all the people.
1) Be humble when you are successful: Remember it is not ALL about you and your success. There is God and many others who helped you one way or another to bring you to this point.
2) Be thankful to those who helped you get there: Recognize their contribution and do something to let them know you are thankful. Share with them your honor and glory because they deserve that.
3) Never forget to glorify God: God is the ultimate backing of your success through His provision of the environment, opportunity, people and many other factors without them you won’t be here today. Trust Him with your future and He will lead your way.