Do you remember the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers? It was a really popular TV Show in the early 90s that aired right after school so I watched it all the time in junior high. If you don’t know, the premise is that in the first season, astronauts accidently free an evil alien Rita who was locked away by a good alien Zordon. Now that Rita is free, she sets her eyes on conquering earth.
Well unfortunately, Zordon, in the process of defeating Rita, gets trapped in a time warp, so he has to find a team to defend the earth. So he recruits 5 teenagers and gives them the ability to morph into the Power Rangers to fight Rita’s forces.
When they morph into the Power Rangers, they become superheroes; they are faster, stronger, and have combat skills. But their real power is that they can each summon and control these giant robots called Zords. But the real, real power is that these Zords can then come together to form the Megazord, a gigantic fighting machine.
I went back and watched a couple episodes recently and alas it was not as enjoyable as it used to be. It’s super corny and every episode is the same. Rita wants to conquer earth so she sends one of her monsters that she creates. The monster wrecks havoc in the city, and the Power Rangers are summoned. They fight the monster but can’t defeat it because Rita magically makes it grow really really big. And so the Power Rangers call on their Zords and together become the Megazord. And once the Megazord is assembled, it’s over. He has the same finishing move every episode: the sword slash. And that’s pretty much every single episode.
So you can pretty much sum up the Power Rangers as a diverse group of people chosen by a higher power and given abilities that are useful, but by themselves are inadequate. And it is not until they come together that something more glorious and powerful is manifested for the purposes of good.
This may be a bit of a ridiculous analogy, but that’s kind of how Paul envisions the church. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-13, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The Bible teaches that each believer has been given at least one spiritual gift for the purposes of building up the church body, and it is when all believers are actively using their gift that God is more fully manifested in our midst. But the sad reality is that most churches follow the 20-80 rule: 20% of the church does 80% of the work, and many Christians simply show up and warm the seats (there are many reasons for this, sometimes the church structure hinders the process of everyone getting involved).
Can you imagine what the Megazord would look like if one of the Rangers sat out because he thought his Zord was lame? Or if another Ranger thought she could just do it on her own and didn’t need the rest of the team? There would be no full manifestation of the glory and power of the Megazord.
And in the same way, there is not the manifestation of God in many of our churches because people are sitting out, and some are doing it on their own. Paul again writes in Romans 12:4-5, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
We need to realize that in God’s design, not one person or a few people have all the gifts. He has given to the entire body so that together, we may all grow in unity into the full knowledge of Christ. Obviously our God is not locked in a time warp and so He needs us to carry out His purposes. He has power to accomplish anything He desires, yet by His grace, allows us and empowers us to participate with Him in His kingdom plan.
And yes, I illustrated this post myself.
How has God gifted you to serve in His church body?
the illustrations are beyond impressive. Worth the Cost should’ve been a picture book.
I think your message is so valuable. My father-in-law actually gave a sermon on this message and stressed we have to work together towards Christs’ goal. However, it’s still difficult when you have too much complacency or an unclear goal. It’s easy when it’s to ward off evil and save the world, but how do you find against the idols of money, comfort, security, etc except through steadfast prayer!
Thanks Brian for the thoughts! Yeah I think for sure a lot of prayer is needed, and also renewing our minds with the truths of Scripture that this world that we see is not all there is, and that church is not just for my enjoyment and my own benefit, which is hard for our consumerism-minded culture.