Embracing our place in the kingdom of God

I'Ching Chan-Thomas | International

Later this month, another Marvel Comics superhero movie, “Avengers: The Infinity War,” will open in theatres. Like its prequels, it will rouse fans around the world with a gripping plot of a group of superheroes, who band together to defeat yet another supervillain bent on destroying the universe. Despite their forceful personalities (and varying superpowers!), their camaraderie in their mission is very inspiring and impressive.

However, this was not always the case. In the first Avengers movie, these superheroes had great difficulty working as a team. Everyone distrusted each other’s motives and competed to lead the mission. As a result, the supervillain nearly destroyed them all until they realised it took all of them working together with their special powers to defeat the villain.

How the Avengers achieved their mission reminds me of Paul’s picture of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body… But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honourable we bestow the greater honour” (ESV).

The mission, not me

Everyone in the kingdom of God is essential to the mission that He has called us to. Unfortunately, while we may profess this, often we don’t practise it in reality. Instead, we buy into the world’s idea that one can only make a difference as a leader, and, therefore, everyone should aspire to leadership. However, this would seem to go against the part-of-the-body analogy of the kingdom of God. Counter-culturally, the biblical worldview teaches that all of us play a role in the kingdom of God and we are to be faithful where God has placed us to serve Him best, whether in a leadership position or otherwise.

Some of us are called to lead, but many of us are not. (In a world where everyone is a leader, no one is!) Some of us are called to lead for a season and afterward serve on a team. Some of us perform exceptionally as team members but will be poor leaders. However, not holding a leadership position does not diminish our part or value in the advancement of God’s work. Hence, we must embrace our given role because we flourish only when we live and work according to God’s design and calling.

Finally, because we serve according to the rules of the kingdom of God and not of self, we must recognise that whether we lead or serve as a team member, we aim to draw attention to Jesus and not to self. If you are a leader, your leadership is ultimately not about you or the team/organisation you lead, but about God and His mission.

Like the Avengers banding together to defeat the evil supervillain, we must embrace God’s place for us so that, together with the diverse ‘superpowers’ that God has bestowed on us, we fulfil the mission of the kingdom of God.

I’Ching is an aspiring sinologist who wears three hats: wife to a New Testament professor, mother to a third-grader and OM’s international director of leadership development. She also moonlights as an apologist and a writer in all things related.

Published: Thursday, 05 April 2018
Credit: I'Ching Chan-Thomas
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About Perspectives

Op-ed articles written by OM leaders on various global mission/Christian issues or topics.

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