In the fall, the thoughts of many Americans turn to certain things.
Yes, perhaps for some that may mean pumpkin spice-everything and falling leaves (and/or apple picking). But for a great many others, it means the heart of football season, the beginnings of the hockey and basketball seasons, and the arrival of October and the World Series, signaling the climax of the baseball season.
On those fields, courts and rinks, some of the greatest athletes in the world, boasting physical skills and abilities the majority of the world’s population can only dream of, take the stage in pursuit of a season capped off with a trophy.
For these gifted performers, however, the achievement only begins with the talents with which they have been blessed.
While those talents may have given them the opportunity to earn a spot on a roster, it is a demonstrated commitment to their craft – a willingness to work hard, to study, to practice, practice, practice, to sacrifice their bodies and their time, to do whatever it takes – that will get them to “the show” and, perhaps, ultimately, to a platform, hoisting a shiny trophy amid falling confetti and deafening cheers.
It is no coincidence that God would use such athletic achievement as an analogy, to tell us what He desires from us.
In his letter to his friend, Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote that he had “fought the good fight” and had “finished the race,” and at that moment, he awaited the “crown of righteousness” – a heavenly trophy in recognition of his work on this Earth. And what was his work? In writing to Timothy and in other of his letters, Paul tells us his life had been “poured out” like an offering; literally, that he had done whatever was necessary to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with as many people as he could, up to and including dying a martyr’s death.
But that achievement was not left to Paul. Each of us have a race that needs to be run, a fight that needs to be fought.
Each of us have been given tasks appointed by God in our own worlds, to reach our world and share with them the life-changing Gospel of Christ. Your world is different from those even of your neighbor. Each of us have families, friends, coworkers, classmates and others in our social networks who are different.
And as, COTR Creative Director Braden Larive, shared this past Sunday, God is calling each of us to do whatever it takes, which can include sacrificing our time, money and energy, to pour ourselves out as offerings, to ensure everyone around us not only knows, but sees the Love of Jesus that is for them.
God wants to change your world. What are you willing to do to make it happen?
This week, let’s resolve, like athletes striving for a championship, we will do whatever it takes. Let us be poured out as offerings, one for the other, and stand together in the breach for our families, our friends, and all around us, as members of God’s 300.