Each day we are faced with choices and opportunities in this game of life. We have days where the game seems to go easy; the bats swing and we hit the “sweet spot” and life comes off like a base hit, homerun, or grand slam. Sometimes each moment of each day is an active struggle to choose the right play as we hit foul balls, get hit by a wild pitch, or we just plain strike out. Depending on how life is going, can often times determine how a person will respond in the game. Choices, choices, choices. How we choose is just as important and what we choose. Day by day we have an active choice if we are going to be a Player, Bench Warmer, or Spectator.
The world screams for “fans” but being a Spectator really doesn’t require much. You just come watch the game go by and yes you may get excited about something but there is no real involvement or personal expectations. You can choose to stay with the same team or root for another team that might get your heart rate up for another day. When the game, day, is finished, you have nothing more than what you started with and you wait to watch another day.
As a Bench Warmer, member of the team, you have at one time put in some practice, learned some play books, played in some minor league or major league games but now most of your days are filled with sitting and watching. You can still talk the game up, you still have a closer seat to the action but sitting in the dugout huddled up with the active players is thrill enough for you. You occasionally dream of what it “used to be like” when “you made the big play” but reminiscing is about as much action as it gets.
As Christians, God has called us to a lifetime of fulfillment and purpose. He has called us to active roster duty as a Player or let’s put in another term, Disciple. He has given us the playbook and the game is really very simple. In Matthew 28:16-20 the clubhouse talk Jesus gives, as our Life Coach, says: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Did you see it in the passage? The disciples went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. They were already there dressed and ready for practice and action. Being a Servant/Disciple of Christ is active and intentional. Christ tells them that there is more to this game of life. The entire game is played out and the playbook is written and it says “Go and Make”, “Baptizing and Teaching” and “Obey”. Then Jesus promises that He is with them always. Since He is with us always, then their is no reason to throw in the towel and give up on the mission.
Often times life seems so hard because we have lost touch and not stayed connected to our Coach. We have strayed from the mission/game plan that Christ laid out for us. We can fall back into what the world says and be a “fan” or “bench warmer” and in doing so we miss out on so much. Being a member, or on the team roster, doesn’t fulfill the Coach’s direction. We are called out to play with all our might and be of the nature of a Servant/Disciple. Another way to say it is: A disciple is a mind though which Christ thinks. A disciple is a heart through which Christ loves. A disciple is a voice through which Christ speaks. A disciple is a hand through which Christ serves. It’s all about living for Jesus.
We never know what living for Jesus is going to be. Living for Jesus may be “business as usual” today – sacrifice and suffering tomorrow. A disciple remains faithful through good times and bad. A disciple takes the lowliest job just as joyfully as the high-profile job. A disciple is just as happy doing what only God sees as he is doing what everyone sees. The logo for the Baptist Missionary Union makes this point very well. It pictures a bull standing between a plow and an altar. The caption reads, “Ready for Either.”
Over the next six weeks we will take a deeper look into what Disciples/Players are and what attributes they possess. My prayer is that we stay in God’s Word and fulfill His mission as He has called us. May the Holy Spirit move our team mightily for Jesus. In the areas we are weak, may we exercise and practice in Worship, Bible, Study, Giving, Serving, and Witnessing. May we truly be more than a bench warmer or fan and be the Great Commission in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities. May we follow Jesus, our Coach, and master the life of Discipleship. May we be faithful no matter what comes our way in good and bad times. In Jesus’ name. Amen