We love superheroes.
Come on, admit it – you wanted to be a superhero at some point. Haven’t we all?
In recent years, superhero movies like the Avengers have smashed the box office. Comic books featuring “caped crusaders” have stood the test of time, dating back even to the mid-1800’s. There is just something about a good super-story that gets us going.
But I wonder if that mentality has crept into the Church. I sometimes feel as though believers are holding out for a hero. You know – that one guy or girl who seems to have “superpowers” and seems to be able to do it all – that one who can “save” them from doing it themselves.
At other times, I feel as though believers bear the weight of trying to be the one to do it all for everyone else. They try to bear a load far too great for any one person, motivated by the lie that it’s all up to them.
Superheroes – man, we love them.
But, just as in every other part of real life, there is no such thing.
No Place for Superman
There are no superheroes in the Church.
There are no Superman’s or Batman’s. There is no one super-gifted person that “saves” Christians from the uncomfortable purpose God has given them. There is no one person on whom it all depends.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 tells us that by giving us his Holy Spirit, God has given every believer gifts and a purpose. Every Christian, bought with Jesus’ blood and sealed with his Holy Spirit, is given an equally important role in the mission of God.
Then 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 goes on to say that, though the gifts and roles are different, each is vitally important to the community of believers and the mission they’ve been given. Each believer is dependent on the rest to accomplish the whole mission of God.
Lone rangers sure sound cool, but they are a figment of the imagination in the Church that Jesus said would withstand Hell itself (Matthew 16:18). A lone hand or foot is worthless, and God has composed a body (1 Corinthians 12:24) and not a single part or person. Each part of a body is dependent on the rest to function properly, and it becomes worthless the moment it is severed from the whole.
What this means is that there are no superheroes. Just a bunch of Clark Kent’s and Bruce Wayne’s, ordinary people with an extraordinary God living inside of them, gifting them for what he’s called them to do.
We Need Each Other
“Super-Christians” are just a daydream. Let’s not waste any time searching for them or trying to be them. God has not appointed a few above-average people with amazing gifts to do his work.
Instead, he has equipped you and me with the gifts we need, and he calls us to unite with every other believer to do his work – to spread his Gospel, his glory, and his Kingdom. We need each other to do this.
We cannot be Superman, but we were never made to be. God has called us to come together with the rest of the Church and live ordinary lives with an extraordinary power.
Will you answer the call?
So what can you do?
Well the first thing is to figure out what your spiritual gifts are! There are plenty of spiritual gift inventories available. Good friends, family members, a spouse, etc. can typically confirm the answers or not with what they see in you.
Seemingly obvious but often neglected, this step is crucial. Not knowing and not using your gifts are just as harmful to the health of the Body as the abuse of them. For the Church to be the Church, every believer needs to know how God has wired them and how that plays out in the Church’s mission.
Next, plug in and use your gifts in the context of the local church. Find a way to get involved with a local community of believers and play your part. Don’t try to play the superhero, just play your role and encourage others as they play theirs. Rest in the fact that it does not all depend on you, do what you can, encourage others, and watch what God can do through the Body of the Lord Jesus.