Archimedes coined the phrase, “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I’ll move the world.” He was talking about the power of a fulcrum that uses force to displace the mass of a fixed object by creating momentum and movement, but he might as well of been talking about church.
For Archimedes, the lever is used to move a fixed object. For church, the lever is the grace we offer a world that is stuck.
Each of us have levers (spiritual gifts, skills, resources), and they look different for all of us. Some of us hold the levers of love, forgiveness, and grace. Others of us hold the levers of restorative justice, global concern, and environmental sustainability. There are even those of us who hold levers of mental health, contemplative prayer, money, teaching, singing, cooking, construction, design, faith, biblical education, and social reform. Our levers are different because we are all uniquely and wonderfully made to function as the body of Christ.
Last Monday I started my tenure as senior pastor. In the first week, I have held seven meetings with parishioners, one staff meeting, and two committee meetings (and more are on the books). I am already seeing our levers God uses to further God’s kingdom here. I can gladly say, “We have significant gifts here.”
But if all we have is a bunch of people with levers and no a place to stand, we are not a church. I think Archimedes and Jesus would both agree that if we at FBC want to move the world, we need solid ground to stand on. Maybe this is one reason why Jesus said to Peter, “On this rock I will build my church.”
My prayer this week is that First Baptist will continue to be a solid and healthy place for people to stand and use their gifts. There is so much need (poverty, AIDs, depression, addiction, war, homelessness, mental health, disease) and so much pain (resentment, anger, jealousy, hate, bitterness) in this world. God needs us standing against these evils. God needs us sharing our gifts with the world.
So stand with me this Sunday as we worship the one who gives us our levers and places to stand. Join us as we seek to affect change and offer hope to a world that needs it. May we be known as the church who chooses to stand somewhere good, somewhere meaningful, and somewhere close together.
This article was originally written for and published by First Baptist in its August 2015 Soundings issue.