Sunday, April 11, 2010

Are You in the Game or on the Sidelines?

Have you ever been deeply involved playing in a ball game (for me, this is a hypothetical situation) and happened to notice someone watching, but only half-heartedly? Have you ever been at the scene of an emergency and witnessed others taking a quick look as they go on their way, but not stopping to see if they can help? Or maybe, you have been in the stands for an exciting game but the people right in front of you are more concerned with cotton candy and waving at the TV camera every time someone tells them to on their cell phone.

Maybe for you, the "game" is something serious. It might be your work and a crisis that is engulfing all of your time and emotions. It might be the drama that encircles your family. Maybe it is politics and the current situation in America. Some of us are making choices and drawing lines in multiple situations at the same time, being pulled in opposite directions by uncompromising forces.

Whatever the situation, either you find yourself involved or watching. Either you are participating or you are a casual observer.

What about the spiritual realm? Where do you find yourself? Are you in the game or on the sidelines? Regardless of any emergency, crisis, battle or game that you may find yourself involved in, when it comes to Christianity, are you a casual observer?

I would imagine that most of us would want to respond that we are in the game - not on the sidelines, when it comes to following Jesus. But, are we really? Remember, there is only one set of standards to which we will be measured, and that is God's, not mine or yours. How do we honestly measure up to what Jesus has required of His followers?

Would those who are closest to us and know us the very best - the real part of our lives, testify that we are truly a follower of Jesus? In this calling there is no one who will fake-it into eternity with God. There is no more serious of a situation that we will ever face than what we do towards heaven or hell.

What did Jesus require? We must love him more than our immediate family members. We must forsake ourselves and follow Him. We must take up our cross, daily. If we follow Him, we will suffer persecution.

These are not popular and honestly, they are not very appealing. Who in their right mind would take one step forward and volunteer for this duty?

Remember how Jesus talked about John the Baptist? Jesus said that there was no greater man than John. So, what was John's life like? He lived in a cave in the desert. He ate what he could find. He wasn't married, had no kids, no home, no job, no income, no car, no nice clothes, no soft bed. He was despised by the religious leaders, arrested and had his head cut off.

The disciples who earlier believed that they would be in positions of power when Jesus became the King of Israel, suffered persecution and death.

Why would anyone sign up for this? There is only one reason. They have fallen in love with Jesus and they are willing to follow Him and obey Him. Logically, you would have to be a fool; but this is not based on logic. This is an act of faith. Some will mock you for making a drastic change in your life based on faith. The world will consider you a fool.

So, which is it? Is the follower of Jesus wise or foolish? It depends on the picture you see. If you see this life as the big picture, a follower of Jesus would have to be a fool. But, if you see eternity as the big picture, you would have to be a fool to not follow Jesus. This life is very temporary, it comes and then goes like a gust of wind. As the sun rises at dawn and soon sets at dusk, a life passes by and is over.

We are caught up in making the unimportant, important and ignoring the essential as if there will always be another time to follow and obey. We have life backwards. This present life is not the ultimate experience, something that must be enjoyed to the fullest and an opportunity to get the most out of it while we still can. This life is not something that is so valuable that we must do all that we can to stretch it out as long as possible. This life is "boot camp" or a testing ground. This life is not what is most important. That is what the followers of Jesus learned and what John the Baptist understood.

If we suffer here and now, so be it! We have our eyes set just beyond the horizon. We should be watching and ready for the imminent return of our Lord. We should be living in a manner that we would expect to hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant". Right now, in your life and responsibilities, what is your priority? Would Jesus say that about you?

In true Christianity, there are no casual observers. You are in the game or on the sidelines. Where are you? It is better to die for something than to live for nothing!

No comments:

Post a Comment