December 09, 2022 Forest Antemesaris

The Church Is a Swiss Army Knife

The Church Is a Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Champ is an impressive multitool. Better known simply as the “Swiss army knife,” the Victorinox Swiss Champ is a 3.6-inch pocketknife that has an impressive 33 functions. The Victorinox describes the infamous tool as “the ultimate pocketknife, packing no less than 33 functions and countless possibilities. Wherever you are and whatever happens, if it can be fixed, it can be fixed with the Swiss Champ.” 

This impressive, medium-sized pocketknife folds away a fish scaler, hook disgorger, ruler, magnifying glass, bottle opener, 6 mm screwdriver, wire stripper, toothpick, pin, wood saw, Philips screwdriver, multipurpose hook, scissors, tweezers, key ring, nail file, nail cleaner, metal saw, metal file, 2.5 mm screwdriver, large blade, ballpoint pen, sewing awl, chisel, pliers, wire cutters, wire crimper, small blade, can opener, 3 mm screwdriver, 1.5 mm screwdriver, and a corkscrew. Oh, did I mention that it can fit in your pocket?

The Swiss Champ gives us a wonderful illustration of God’s design for the church and our place in it. These 33 diverse tools with varying functions all come together to form one, helpful, needed thing that can be used to build, fix, and help the one who uses it. The church is the same way. In one body, the church is compressed of a diverse group of people with varying talents, abilities, and functions who all work together to glorify God and build, fix, and help the fallen world around them.

Sometimes, it can seem like I must be a Swiss army knife to be a good Christian. I must be good at organizing, leading, evangelizing, memorizing, studying, teaching, writing cards, visiting, talking on the phone, helping others in need, and donating large amounts of money, otherwise, I am not who God wants me to be. But, this is not the case. God expects the church to be a Swiss army knife, but He doesn’t expect each Christian to be a Swiss army knife!  

Notice the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul to the Romans: “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:4-8 ESV). Likewise, we also read: “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body” (1 Cor. 12:18-20).

Just like the Swiss Champ, when it comes to the church, “the members do not all have the same function” (Rom. 12:4). Instead, like a master builder, God has constructed the body of Christ so that each person’s varying function, strength, talent, etc. can be used to serve as a cohesive unit. No part is more valuable than any other, and no part has to do the work of the whole. The tweezers on the Swiss Champ have a different job than the wood saw. The wood saw doesn’t have to be the tweezers and vice versa. They are on the same team, using their varying abilities to work in the area where they are needed. It should be the same in the church!

Our job is to figure out what our function is and execute it. Our elders should look for ways to provide opportunities to get involved and our members should be willing to present ideas of what they can do to the elders. If you are a Christian, God has you in His church for a reason. May we all strive to do what we can, with what God has given us, to build up the body and reach the world! Maybe you are good at comforting and encouraging. Write cards. Call others. Go forward when others go forward. Maybe you’re good at coming up with ideas. Sit down with the elders and share what you have with them. Maybe you are good at cooking meals. Provide food for some of the shut-ins. If you don’t know what you can do, ask God, ask the elders, ask others, and you will find out! 

May we as Christ’s body be like the Swiss champ! Not fighting or competing or sitting idle, but all working together for the same glorious end. No part is more vital than the other. Each part is needed. The whole suffers when even the smallest function goes missing. May God help us to use our talents for His glory, whatever they may be. The Swiss Champ is an impressive multitool, but it pales in comparison to the church when we each do what we can!