In the Twenty-Century Fox film The Longest Day, Jeffrey Hunter played a Sergeant elevated to Lieutenant on Omaha Beach by General Cota. Ordered to place a Bangalore torpedo under a concrete retaining wall, his team succeeded. In placing explosives in the hole beneath it, the Lieutenant was killed. Immediately one of his men edged forward and finished the job. TCM, 2/25/16. A picture of teamwork in the group. That should describe the work of Christians in the church. We’re all individuals but part of the group. As individuals we labor for the benefit of the team. Churches need to think of an army when considering church life. Every army expects casualties and trains its soldiers to fill in when wounding or death eliminates one. Churches also have casualties, through transfers of members and loss by death or dissatisfaction.
When it happens, another team member needs to volunteer. When one member won’t, someone else must. It’s the nature of a team to compensate for failure in any member. It’s also an encouragement to other team members to know if we fall, someone will pick us up. If we’re wounded, someone will tend to the hurt to healing. If we get lost through sin or despair, someone will search for us till found.
Such team work doesn’t always characterize the church. Indeed, when one fails to perform his work, usually no one steps forward to succeed. Then every member looks to his own interests, whatever happens to the body. That’s why many churches are like the ship I’ve seen on a postcard. I don’t know what happened to the Tanker at Pt. Pinos in Monterey Bay. It’s obvious something tragic did because it’s beached on the rocks. That’s what happens to the body of Christ when individual parts think more of themselves than of the whole.