Today I will spend several hours watching American football on television. Since I have no particular dog-in-the-fight, I'll be rooting against the Evil Empire (New England Patriots) in the AFC Championship Game. As for the NFC Championship, I don't really care who wins; I just want to see an exciting game.
In football, as with most other sports, each team will put certain players - the more skilled ones - out on the field. The remainder of the players spend most of their time on the bench. They are the benchwarmers. Some of them play a little. Others rarely ever get off the pine. These folks are largely inactive in the life of the team.
The church ought not function in this way. The body of Christ has no benchwarmers. God's expectation is that every member of his team will be an active player. This is because every member is needed. Nobody in the church plays the role of a third string quarterback. Rather, every person in the church family is a starter. We may have different roles, but all are needed in order for the church to function properly.
I Corinthians chapter 12 spells this all out for us. Paul could not be clearer in stating that each and every member of the body must be active in order for that body to be fully functional. In 12:22-26 the apostle writes:
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 honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
We all need each other. Let's not only be active ourselves but also encourage all our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same. In the life of the church we are all starters.