Friday, January 14, 2011

The Flying V

On a recent trip home from Tennessee, while I was traveling through Arkansas, I discovered what apparently must be the winter home for literally hundreds of thousands of geese. They were everywhere. Everywhere I looked there was one flock after another flying in their "flying v" formation and ponds that appeared to contain more geese than water. All my life I've seen geese flying overhead but this is the first time I've seen where they are heading.

Of course, I had to hop online and find out about as much as I could about my newly discovered winter home for geese. Apparently in recent years, the number of geese that gathers here every winter has grown astronomically. They fly for thousands of miles all the way from Alaska, Northern Canada, and even Greenland.

Now, if you've ever read about geese you know that their "flying v" formation is not an accident. It is a highly sophisticated formation that utilizes drafting and uplift to make the long haul easier on each individual goose. Using this formation, the geese can add over 70% to their individual flying range. Because the front of the formation requires more work, they work together as a team, taking turns carrying the load. And if one becomes weak or ill and can no longer fly, two other geese escorts it to the ground and stays with it until it can fly again, leaving no goose to fly on its own.

Because their migration requires thousands of miles, individually this migration would be near impossible. But working together in teams, these geese make it happen. South for the winter and then again North for the summer. Year after year they make this trip and arrive at their destination because they understand the strength in numbers and the value of community.

Like geese, we were not meant to walk through life alone. We were created for community. While we can accomplish much on our own, it only scratches the surface of what we can accomplish together as a team. In one of Paul's letters to the Corinthians, he touches on this topic describing the church as the "body of Christ." Here, he reminds us that we are part of a bigger picture than just ourselves. We are all members with different gifts, abilities, and callings and God puts us all together to work as a team. It is when we function as one, headed in the same direction, and all understanding where we are headed, that we become the most efficient for the Kingdom of God.

We must all understand the the value and efficiency of the whole is always greater than any individual alone. At the same time we must always remember the importance and value of each individual and their necessity to the entire body. Paul instructs us that each part is important and without each part, the whole body suffers.

If you're not part of a local body of Believers, find a place where you can plug in. Not a place where you can sit comfortably for an hour a week, but a place where you can plug into a community and lock arms with others as you set out to do the work of the Kingdom. That's what you were created for. In that setting you'll discover that you'll accomplish more for the Kingdom of God than you could ever do on your own.