The body of Christ and a tacklebox 

The topic on my heart today is not a terribly hard concept to grasp, but it will sound a little odd at first to some. It’s even been difficult for me as a believer to wrap my mind around at times. But I recently attended a Fishers of Men tournament trail briefing where I listened in as our very own Steve Bowman eloquently and simplistically described this principle we live by as Christians in a way that I’d never heard it described before. The goal today in time is to relay the SBT (Steve Bowman Translation) to you. It’s a good one. 

But before we get to the SBT, let’s look at what God says in the NIV (New International Version). The topic? I want to talk to you today about the body of Christ. Not the physical body of Jesus, but the metaphorical one that’s talked about throughout the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, the apostle Paul talks about this concept in his letter to fellow believers at the church of Corinth. 

He describes how all believers have the Holy Spirit living within us, and we all bring something unique to the table with our own purposes and talents gifted from God. The goal is for all of us to come together and work in harmony, to be the body of Christ. 

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27

In the previous verses, Paul extends the metaphor, talking about how an eye can’t hear and an ear can’t see, so we need both body parts to be complete and fully functional. It works the same with the Church, which isn’t a reference to a particular building but the overall body of Christ — all believers. 

Each of us have passions, interests and strengths that are God-given, the same as a hand has the ability to grasp something, whereas a foot’s purpose is to stabilize and carry us on. One is not greater than the other. Both are vital. The hope is that we would embrace our own gifts and encourage the gifts we see in others — instead of being envious of others, and thus being unable to see, cultivate and appreciate our own gifts and purposes. 

And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
— 1 Corinthians 12:16-17

We all have a particular purpose, which centers around specific people that we were put on this Earth to love on, to reach with the gospel — the good news of Christ coming to die for our sins so that we may be spotless before God, and spend eternity with Him in heaven. 

That is what I believe. Were it not for Jesus and His sacrifice, there would be no way to make it out of this world alive. But by God’s grace, He saw fit in his infinite wisdom to give us free will, and then when we abused this free will by choosing sin, he still loved us enough to make a way to reconcile it all. 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8 

God loves each one of us, of that there is no doubt. But I’m getting a little off in the weeds now, and I promised you a Steve Bowman way of looking at all this that would help make it a little clearer. 

During Bowman’s talk, he had a tacklebox on stage with him. In this tacklebox, he had a wide variety of jigs, crankbaits, topwaters, soft plastics and other lures. Each with its own purpose, specifically designed in a way by its creator so that it could do something no other lure in the box could do. A crankbait is fantastic at doing what it was designed to do, dive to a particular depth and stay there. But it makes for a lousy topwater. 

Still, the crankbait doesn’t sit there and look at the topwater with disdain as it gets all the action. Instead, it’s ready and willing to do what its creator designed it to do the moment it’s called upon. The same is the case for the jig, worm, hook, weight, bobber stopper and the list goes on. All of these things are critical for the tacklebox to be complete, and all of them have a special purpose originating from the design of their creator. 

Perhaps you like to bowl? And hey, you’re pretty good at it. Does that make you any less worthy than a big-time preacher at a church to carry the gospel to a brother in your bowling group who’s going through a divorce? Absolutely not. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. God has divinely placed you in that man’s life to reach him with the good news of Jesus Christ when the chances of him tuning in to listen to a preacher are a thousand to one in your favor. 

Or say you’re an angler who likes to fish out of a kayak. You’ve spent countless hours on the water perfecting your craft. Long hot days in the summer and cold dark days in the winter making dozens of little modifications to your rig. You get to the point to where someone wants to hear what you have to say about kayak fishing. Could be through a large social media following built over years of diligent posting, or simply the guy living next door who shares your passion for the outdoors. You have a better chance reaching that guy than I do.

I want to do my part. I thank God for the opportunity to do my part. Some days, that’s writing a piece like this that will hopefully reach and spur on hundreds of people. Other days, it’s taking a few minutes to talk to the kid of a single mom at church, who loves fishing, who needs a little attention from a man, a positive role model in a messed up world. 

And I thank God for all those intersections, both big and small, between faith and fishing that he chooses to bless me with. Cause Jesus saved my life, no other way to say it. And I want to build and invest into any relationship He might send my way, so that others can see what Jesus has done and is doing in my life. I want to be light to a dark world. 

I want to encourage you to be the light. Embrace who you are. Leverage it for the Lord. Let the love of Jesus shine through you any opportunity you get. We are all created special and have a specific reason for being here. I challenge you to live yours out to the best of your ability, and I promise to do the same.