Getting in the Game
I really enjoy watching my children swim. I enjoy seeing them jump enthusiastically into a pool or hop on their boogie boards and ride the waves into shore. But, you know, as much as I like watching my children swim, if you stopped me after church any summer day and said, “Do you want to go kayaking or swimming this afternoon?” I’d take you up on that! Because as much as I love watching my kids enjoy the water - then, I’m just a spectator...
We’ve all watched sports or events of some kind. We all, I think, get a thrill at watching something. I love watching my son play run. I love watching my daughter sing and perform. Its fun to see them in action, doing something they enjoy... We yell, we encourage, we applaud... It’s often fun to be a spectator!
I think, though, that if we are not careful in matters of a spiritual nature - we can become spectators there too.. Remember the apostle Paul? Deep down, I think Paul saw himself as an athlete... He understood that his heavenly coach was in charge - he understood that he had a task, a mission, or a race if you will... And he knew that if he gave it all he had, then one day he would stand before God and God would reward him.
You and I have that same mission. We are God’s ambassadors. We are called to share the truth that by God’s grace we have been blessed and others can be too. We are in a race.
Far too many of us, though, live as spectators. We would love to see people come to church; we’d love to see the children learn a lot and continue their faith as adults; we’d love to have the mission-giving of our churches increase – and, certainly, we’ll rejoice and encourage all the efforts - but sometimes we forget - we aren’t spectators - we are runners.
So how do we nurture that? Maybe if we admit to having spectator disease, but we are willing to get back in the game, we can begin to change things. We need to find and claim our common ground. Paul related to everyone because he looked for common ground. The area of your greatest impact is where you are passionate. The things that you care about, God can use... Trust me, there is something in your life that you do that puts you into touch with people who need a touch of compassion.
If you go out to eat every week to the same places - what about the waitresses and waiters? If you play dominoes or mah jongg or bridge - or you belong to a knitting club or a garden club - or whatever – do you encounter people who could use a word of compassion, a smile, a kind word being offered?
Here’s something I want you to think about. Most of us live our lives for comfort, for ease - for simplicity - but what if you lived your life with the goal of meeting and encouraging (dare I say “loving?”) as many people as you could, then the gathering at the local store or the chat at the dump isn’t just about being there – it’s about truly being neighborly.
It is time to get out of the stands and get in the game - pray for those around you - build some common ground - invest in someone’s life and do everything you can to make a difference!