Get in the Game

By Terry Wardle

October 18, 2012

It has often been said that the church is like a football game. There are hundreds of people in the stands desperately needing exercise watching twenty-two people on the field who desperately need rest. There is some truth to this statement. There is a tension within the church between two extremes. One group is pushing hard to get believers active in ministry and set them to task long before they are ready. This results in burnout and bitterness and causes more damage than it is worth. Christian people need to have time to develop and grow and not be pushed to serve in ways they are not prepared to endure.

          But there is an unhealthy inertia on the other side that allows Christians to see serving the Lord as a requirement for those special people who are called to full-time ministry. For some this notion brings relief, and for others disappointment. This is a tragic lack of understanding about the commission that Jesus has given to His church. We are all ministers of Christ, full time. Though there are different gifts and callings, every believer is part of the plan. We are to spend our lives participating in the mission of redemption that Jesus gave His life to provide. It is both the privilege and responsibility of all who claim to follow after Christ. Jesus made his choice clear when on earth. His life belonged to God and His days were spent obediently fulfilling His appointed mission. Every Christian will come to the crossroad where that same issue must be personally decided.

There is, as always, a way of least resistance. A Christian can take the path that leads to inactivity, an easy journey to a sad brand of Christian consumerism that allows people to sit back and watch. It is a powerless experience that weakens the individual’s faith, diluting it into impotency. Those who choose that way end up disillusioned, eventually determining that religion really doesn’t make much difference after all.

But there is the path that Jesus took in life and it leads to sacrificial ministry to a lost and broken world. At this point in the journey Jesus does not invite, He commands. Believers are summoned to His side where they hear the word, “So send I you.” The possibilities are both exciting and frightening. Those who dare to consider following Christ’s command wonder what they could ever do to make a difference.

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