The Vineyard has a saying; “Everyone gets to play!”
As I grow in my understanding of the rich history of the Vineyard, this quote has shown itself true in a myriad of ways. From children to the elderly, everyone has a part to play in the grand scheme of the body of Christ. “I’m too young or too old” is not a thing. Likewise, too new to knowing Jesus is not a thing. This reality is incredibly empowering, not to mention it levels the playing field.
Lately, I have been challenged by people not wanting to play. What about those who are truly content? What about those who play by watching and listening? What does it mean to “get to play?”
This saying emerged in Vineyard culture as a way of expressing the value for family, and the understanding that adding an individual changes the game. Think about it this way: when moving from singleness to marriage, there is not only an addition that takes place, but a multiplication. Taking yourself and adding another makes a whole new creation, something that has never been seen before. For me, it meant gaining life skills and abilities from the most powerful woman I have ever met! Now take that understanding and apply it to the body of Christ. The whole Church gains from multiplication. The testimonies enrich experiences. The new thoughts challenge old thoughts. The Church is compared to a living body in scripture because in reality, it is a living, breathing entity. When everyone gets to play, the Church actively engages the challenges of humanity to provoke change.
Everyone getting to play enriches the experience of everyone in the body. We have an opportunity to do the stuﬀ that Jesus did, and much, much more.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12.
What becomes the priority? What are these greater things? The fact that we have an opportunity to engage in greater things than raising the dead and healing the blind should stir us to play.
In seasons of life where I have sat in being “content”, my heart and mind were seemingly settled. However, the reality was that things in me were turned oﬀ. I was functioning out of only a portion of who I was. In certain seasons, this still happens to me. Being content with the person of Jesus is all a part of the journey. Recognizing that parts of ourselves are turned oﬀ or tuned down, is a part of being healthy. Our goal in life isn’t to run so fast that we have nothing left. Our aim is a healthy pace. Our measure is obedience.
Paul says it like this “For I am already being poured out like a drink oﬀering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. The crown comes from finishing the race. But our walk with Christ IS the race. These physical metaphors help us recognize that our lives should be progressive. We are called to forward motion toward the finish line.
Everyone gets to play! Where you are, how you are, with your skills, you are in the game. Sometimes it is a pickup game with friends. Sometimes it is a professional game. The invitation to play is an invitation to a lifelong walk with the King of glory. Playing together should bring us joy, not foster comparison. Our goal is to get better at the game, as it is shaping and forming us. So go play, because you get to! And know that you are the only one that can bring who you are to the game.