One day an investigator was walking through the storm ravaged streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Amidst the rubble and destruction, he found a plastic straw – a flimsy plastic drinking straw. But this flimsy plastic drinking straw caught his attention. It was unique in a way that he had never seen before. This straw had done something that probably very few straws in the world have ever accomplished.
It was embedded in a thick wooden telephone pole – probably about 2-3 inches deep – and was sticking straight like an arrow shot from a bow.
Can you imagine how much effort it would take you to do that?
To embed a straw in a telephone pole? Imagine the twisting and turning, and pushing and grinding it would take to get that straw in even a quarter of an inch! There’s no way. It’s completely impossible. The straw is too weak. There’s no way you could do that on your own.
But you know what would help? 175 mph winds! And that’s exactly what caused that flimsy plastic drinking straw to penetrate that thick wooden pole like it was Play-Doh.
“And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power” Matthew 10:1
Power! That is what the Lord Jesus gave to His 12 disciples. And that is what He wants to give to us as well. But the question is this: where does that power come from?
Jesus gave THEM power – not HIM, but THEM. In other words, the power was given in the context of a group of believers, not individuals. Yes, the individuals received the power, but only because they were part of the group. Jesus didn’t go to 12 individuals and give power to each one. He called all His disciples together, gathered them in one place, and then poured out power upon each and every one of them.
The same can be seen on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2) when “they were all with one accord in one place” and then the Holy Spirit descended upon each of them and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Once again, great power poured out, but only in the context of a group of believers assembled together.
So where is that power today?
Do you think God is any less powerful today? NOPE. He is just as Omnipotent today as He’s ever been.
Do you think God is more selfish today and doesn’t want to share that power like He used to? NOPE. God is God and that means He doesn’t change. If He liked to give power to His disciples before, He likes to do the same today.
Do you think that maybe there’s a chance that I’m missing something that those early believers had? YEP. I’m so glad you asked.
Just as the flimsy strong on its own couldn’t do much against that wooden pole, you and I aren’t too powerful on our own. We wish were, but we aren’t. We are easily overwhelmed… easily frustrated… easily tempted and fooled by the devil. On our own, our lives are not very powerful. We’re not very patient… not very wise… not very strong.
However, just as that flimsy straw was made powerful by the 175 mph winds of Hurricane Katrina, our lives are meant to be made powerful by the infinite mph wind of the God. And where does that power come from? That power comes in the context of a group of believers gathered together in one accord.
In other words… THE CHURCH!
The Church – as I wrote about the other day – is more than just a hangout place on Sundays. It’s more than just a nice place to go when the weather’s nice and you want to see your great aunt Helen.
The Church is our wind. The Church is our source of power and strength. Church isn’t a building; it’s a Body. It’s the actual Body of Christ. It’s a spiritual mystery which we’ll never understand but that doesn’t make it any less true: THE CHURCH IS THE LIVING BODY OF CHRIST ON EARTH.
Just as God took flesh 2000 years ago and walked on this earth, He is still here in the form of His Body, which is the Church. The Church is Christ on earth. It is the Body of Christ not in theory, but in truth.
That’s why we don’t “go to church” on Sundays. We are the Church! And we are the Church every single day. Sunday is just the day that we gather together to worship together and receive power from the Lord Himself. Stop thinking about church as an optional activity that’s nice every once in a while. The Church is our wind. It’s where God desires to meet with us weekly to pour out power upon His disciples today, just as He did with His disciples 2000 years ago.
You are a flimsy plastic drinking straw. The Church is the wind.
Who’s ready to go show the world the power of a plastic straw?
For discussion: what does it mean to you when I say that the Church is the Living Body of Christ on earth?