In most team sports, being on the field implies your participation is integral to the success of your team. This may not be a perfect analogy, but I remember playing Pee Wee Baseball and early Little League. Fewer balls made it to right field, so the kid planted there was often more preoccupied with chasing butterflies than fly balls. He was on the “team,” but baseball really wasn’t his gig. (No, this wasn’t me!)
Fast forward to an illustration from someone near and dear to me. My grandson “toys” with engagement in sports. He has already demonstrated that possessing the uniform of a Taekwondo student ranks higher than the being a practitioner. I think the same is coming true with the soccer uniform. Perhaps your life as a Christian is a little like that. You’ve got the jewelry with a prominent cross. You have a fish or two on your car’s bumper. You let others know you “belong” to a certain church whether your attendance and participation there is frequent and visible enough for the church to know. I think you get where I’m going.
Ones’ faith life is nothing to “play” at. It’s serious business. For any of us, it can be a five buck investment or we can pursue our calling to follow Christ like we are “all in.” Obviously, we ought not to be in the business of judging those who claim to believe in and follow Christ. The metrics on our yardsticks would vary some, don’t you think, and the Bible teaches that judging is a bad business to be in. We may not recognize it out of the gate, and most of us don’t, but seriously following Jesus turns into a life with some “down the rabbit hole” adventures. There will be sacrifice and blessing, risk and reward, pain and pleasure, peace and consternation and much more.
Last week’s message was exceptionally well done and our Pastor didn’t pull any punches or add sweetener. Just how are we investing our lives for the gospel and do we recognize that you and I are Plan A and that there is no Plan B? That there truly are no “reserve players?” The word invest is chosen intentionally. It implies purpose. How do we expend our lives for God’s purposes, the grandest calling possible, and what are we expecting as the return on our investment? We ought not to live each day for a reward, but each day in relationship with Christ ought to be seen as a reward with more to come at the finish line. I’ve heard some people, mostly older ones, comment that their “season” of ministry/serving/proclaiming Christ is in the past and use age or lack of mobility as a “loophole.” As long as God gives us breath, we can create avenues to make his goodness known to others. At the least and probably at the same time at our best, we can pray strongly for those who don’t yet know Christ and for those “beautiful feet” who move to those unfamiliar with the gospel message. (Rom. 10:15) (Most of us don’t prize the attractiveness of our feet, but God sure does when we use them for his purposes.)
Who will present God to your child? Your spouse? Your parent? Your friend? Your co-worker? Your classmate? Your neighbor? While we may engage in any meaningful efforts like feeding the hungry, attending church or a Bible study, visiting a prisoner or clothing the needy, the most important obedience to Jesus’ calling is in some way presenting him to those who have not yet met him so that they would have the opportunity of eternal life. (Rom. 10:14-15) How into the “game” are you? Think About It.