What if I told you I am a softball player or a baseball player… you would probably ask me what team I was on or where I played? Maybe even ask me what position I play. Truth is I did play softball for over 30 years of my life. I loved being on a team. Over the years I played almost every position, but most years I played short stop. I had good reflexes and could hit fairly well but I was never a fast runner. I would come home and if my husband wasn’t at the game, he’d ask how I did. I remember one of the first times I told him, I hit a home run… he said, “how far did you get?” I said, “second base!” We both laughed, it was no secret to anyone I wasn’t a fast runner! I was 32 years old, playing short stop when I tore my ACL in my right knee. It took me out of the game for a few months but I worked hard through physical therapy to get back to playing the next season.
For a few of those years I coached as well as playing. I appreciated so much when we had several committed players, that you knew you could count on. I don’t mean they were necessarily all-star ball players but you knew besides when maybe they had family vacation or some type of special event, they were going to be there. Also, that their heart was in, they wanted to be there, so when evenings you were playing in 90+ degrees they stuck it out without complaining the whole time!
Now what if I told you I was a Christian… would you not ask me where I went to church or maybe even what type things I did there? Now when I told you I was a softball player, if you had asked what team I was on and I said “none”. Would you have questioned if I really played? Please stick with me here… I’m not saying you have to go to church and actually plug into a church to be a Christian. Just help me understand how anyone does it on their own? I guess as a ball player, I could go to batting cages. My husband was an only child so he told me he got really good at throwing the ball up really high in the air and then running to catch it. We both use to throw tennis balls up against our unfinished basement walls to practice fielding. I mentioned earlier, over time I ended up playing all the positions, part of that depended on which team I was on. Some teams needed a third basemen so I played there. Often on Co-ed teams I played first or second base. See when you are part of the team the coach can put you where you can help the team out the most.
When players are missing it weakens the whole team, you have to spread out and cover more territory or play in positions that you aren’t as good in. This usually means you are at a disadvantage to the opposition.
In 1 Corinthian chapter 12 it talks about how each us represent a different part of the body, some are eyes, some are hands, some are mouths and so on. It goes onto say, the way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part…
See when I say I am a Christian, I think of that as an action word, like I am in God’s army! If you were going into battle would you want to march out there alone, just with your spouse or maybe with a couple of Christian friends you stay in contact with? Or would you want to be part of a team, that you have been playing with, training with, praying with for months or even years!!
Maybe you are thinking, I have been hurt by a church, so I’ve been there done that. Most people I have talked to, were actually hurt by imperfect people in a church. I have not seen a church yet filled with perfect people, that includes even everyone in leadership. I loved playing softball, but I played on leagues where some people didn’t have good sportsmanship, including some players with big egos. Feelings were hurt because they didn’t get to play where they wanted to play. I played in leagues where the umps regularly made bad calls. Funny thing is, it didn’t stop me from coming back week after week. I had a passion to play and it just wasn’t the same throwing the tennis ball up against the wall by myself, week after week. I loved playing on a team and after playing in multiple leagues, I certainly found I had to accept some bad so I could enjoy ALL the good.
Many of you reading this I am sure are active in a local church but we all have friends and family we love dearly that are not currently active in a church. If we truly believe to be a Christian is to strive to be like Jesus.. we know going to church was very important to Him. I found many scriptures where it mentions Jesus going to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke 4:16 He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. (In my bible notes it says if the Son of God attended church regularly, how much more important is it for us to.)
Life is short, I have had three friends around my age in the last year that has lost a child that were in their 20’s. I pray to never know that kind of grief. I want to be on a team, that I can have fun with, learn & grow with, go through the fire with and pray with! Can I challenge you, prayerfully? If you are not plugged into a local church… seek one out! Let’s follow Jesus’s lead, His example!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching! Hebrews 10:24-25