“People can accomplish anything when they realize they are a part of something bigger. A team of people who share that conviction can change the world.” Nick Fury, Marvel Comics.
I learned a lot from comic books. The artwork was fantastic, but comics were also a plus in my education. If I wanted to know what Batman was saying in that funny cloud over his head, I had to read, Comics put me on the fast track to become literate.
My favorite superhero was Captain Marvel. In real life he was a mild-mannered newsboy. When a hero was needed, he could say “SHAZAM” and be transformed into a super hero in red and yellow tights. Sure he was a rip-off of Superman, but I didn’t mind. After all Clark Kent was an adult, his only disguise, being a pair of glasses. Come on! And Billy was a just a kid, like me.
The magic of teams. When superheroes followed Nick Fury’s advice, and formed teams, they took on an exciting new look. D.C. Comics came up with Super Friends. Marvel got in line with S.H.I.E.L.D. and X Men. I related to one comic book team who didn’t have super powers. Blackhawk was a group of fighter pilots, each with different abilities, joining forces to wage war on many evils including Nazism.
Who dreamed up teams? Give credit to the Apostle Paul who taught Christians functioning alone, accomplish little, but achieve great things when they unite and work together God’s team is called the church—not a building or an organization, but the living body of Christ, made up of many different members, each contributing their own unique talents and gifts to the whole. “… together you are the body of Christ and individually members of him and one another. (1 Cor. 12: 28).
The team that changed the world. Paul got the idea from Jesus. Now, even though he was God’s son and a true super hero, he was still just a single person. So, to launch his mission to change the world, he had to recruit committed men and women through whom he could work. Using an on-the-job training program, he prepared them, filled them with the power of his Spirit and molded them into a team. His strategy was to for them to multiply and fill the earth, reproducing like any healthy organism.
Jesus maximized his effectiveness through them. They were faced with a world much more difficult than ours. It was a world where many worshiped pagan gods, enslaved their fellows, entertained themselves with deadly games and public orgies. In a few centuries the church had grown so strong, even emperors turned away from paganism, slavery was abolished and so were bloody games of violence and public displays of immorality.
Even Jesus didn’t fly solo and he doesn’t want us to either. Do we really think we can bring in God’s kingdom by going off on our lonesome, shining our little lights in a very dark world? The challenge for us is to find ways to join our lone lights with others and shine with greater brightness and effectiveness. It takes teams of believers to be this world’s light to begin to extinguish the evils around us.