My family and I were recently in Duluth, MN for the Beargrease Dog Sled Races. The first time we went a few years ago, I was amazed at the whole process. The athletes, which are either Alaskan Husky, Malamute or Siberian Huskey, are so excited as they are getting connected to their line – it is hard to keep them contained! The dogs will jump, howl and pull in excitement and it takes a bunch of people and a four-wheeler to hold them back behind the line until it is time to go! I think about my girls when they are getting ready to race in Cross-Country or Track and imagine how funny it would be if they did the same thing!
Their trainer, the “musher”, gives each one of the athlete’s individual attention, making sure they are well cared for and healthy. They are fed healthy meals of real meat, given rest when needed and of course, lots of love. Having the privilege to work alongside a team, I have been able to be involved and see firsthand how much these athletes love to run. It is what they were born to do; this is what they have been training for. They each soak up the love and attention that they receive. Giving them love is my favorite part of their care. Like us, they each have their own personality and talent that helps determine where their spot is on the team.
A team consists of one or two Lead dogs, Swing dogs, Team dogs and Wheel dogs. It is the Lead dogs’ job to steer the rest of the team and set the pace. The qualities that this team member must have are intelligence, initiative and common sense. The Swing or sometimes called point dogs are directly behind the leaders. It is their job to swing the rest of the team behind them in turns or curves along the trail. Team dogs are next on the line. It is their job to power the team. Last in the line and closest to the sled are the Wheel dogs. Their job is to help guide the sled around tight curves. A wheel dog needs to have a calm temperament so as not to be startled by the sled moving just behind them.
Like us, each of these athletes has a gift or talent and it is the job of the trainer (musher) to discover what that gift/talent is, as they spend time with their team. Like us, talents can be easy to see or can take some take trial and error to discover. One thing is known, they each belong and when they do find their happy spot, they give everything they have!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says: “Do you not know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.” In this verse Paul is using this metaphor of racing to encourage the church by telling us to “run in such a way to win”.
This makes me wonder, are we each using our gifts in a way that we will win the race? Are you “jumping with excitement” when you can use your gifts in serving? Have you discovered what your gifts are? Are you using them to serve God’s church body and help grow His kingdom? There are many things that we as God’s people can do to be a part of the big picture. At Friendship Church, we are many different ministries all working together to form one team. If you haven’t found your place serving in a ministry yet, talk to any one of us here and we would love to help you be a part of God’s big story!Topics: serve, spiritual gifts