The strangest thing happened in the two nights ago. I woke up around three a.m. and my mind began to start processing. I was thinking about the most obscure object in the world and then my brain began relate that to the church. At. 3 a.m.. For. An. Hour. A spark plug was the subject on my brain at the early morning hour.
When I was a teen, my dad bought an old Allis Chalmer tractor. It had sat in a barn for years before we got it. Sitting is the worst thing for a tractor. This tractor had all kinds of problems and the more we used it, the more we worked on it. I can thank a lot of my mechanical expertise to this tractor. One of the most common problems with the tractor is that it would foul the plugs. It would lose power and barely run when this occurred. A quick change in plugs would get you up and running… for a little while. We always had a stash of new plugs for that tractor. This story sets us up for what a plug does and how it could possibly translate to the church, so stay with me.
A spark plug is a fairly small part of a gasoline motor. Most folks don’t even know they have them, especially if you have a newer car. The newer cars have a more evolved spark plug, but the principle is the same. The spark plug serves at least two functions at once. One is the plug. It is positioned above the piston where the firing happens in the cylinder. The plug part is to seal in compression for the engine. Without that compression, the motor will not run or won’t run well. So it must be able to plug the hole so it doesn’t leak compression. The second function is the spark. Although the spark plug doesn’t create the spark, the spark ignites the gasoline at the perfect time in the cylinder so the explosion pushes the piston back down. So as you are driving down the road, there are a series of explosions propelling you forward. Probably more than you wanted to know about a silly, old, little spark plug, but it sets us for how it translates to the church.
If you’ve stuck with me this long, you must be really curious, really bored, or my mom (Hi MOM!). I propose we all need to be little spark plugs for the kingdom of God serving together in the church. We can accomplish more together than on our own. Here are three ways we can be spark plugs in the church.
- Immovable for a purpose. The spark plug is stationary for the life of the plug or the life of the engine. But the plug is not inactive though. We are never called to be statues in the church or even a situation where you’ve been enshrined. We shouldn’t bounce from church to church either, but rather find a place and serve a kingdom purpose. Let the Lord be the mover in your life, if He isn’t moving you then keep working.
- Allow current to run through you. I mentioned earlier that the spark plug doesn’t create a spark, but instead current runs through it. It is designed to optimize electricity to travel through it to make a spark when gasoline is present. The spark plug is connected to a plug wire and can be traced back to the battery, the origin of the power. We cannot provide any supernatural spark on our own. We might be able to muster a little spark through gifts, talents, and personality, but not long-term sustainable power. All we can really do is allow the power to run through us. We have to be well connected to the Creator and source of power and allow His complete work in and through us. We will have a much greater sustainable power source through life when we are an electrode connected to Jesus.
- Working individually and collectively. Not all the spark plugs are firing at once, but they are all working together to get the car down the road. Each plug does its part, but the car isn’t propelled down the road with only one plug firing. They may not be firing at the same time, but they are connected back to the same power source. The same is true in the church. We must be individually doing our part that God has created us for, but when we do it together as a large faith community; we really move the mission of the church forward. The problem arises when only a few are doing what they should be doing. The mission slows and the working spark plugs wear out faster. It is optimal for all believers to be doing their work with joy individually and collectively.
You may feel like you are insignificant to the church or to the Lord. The spark plug doesn’t get a lot of attention, but the car doesn’t move forward without it. Truth be told, we are insignificant compared to our Creator. If we think we are somebody, then we are really fooling ourselves. But that shouldn’t stop us for fulfilling our God-given roles. He has made you and me for a purpose, not for our glory, but for His. Just do your role, and seek to hear His praise at the end of your life when He says, “Well done, good and faithful (spark plug) servant.” You will have a lasting impact inside and outside the church when you choose to live this way.
Grace and Peace to you as you fulfill the role as a spark plug. God wants to use you to move the church forward and increase His kingdom.
P.S. Wasn’t that the craziest thing to be thinking about at 3 a.m.. Go to sleep brain!!!!! HAHA!