Luke 15:4-7 – Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep." I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Over the past few weeks I have really been convicted about the attitudes of many Christians today. This conviction has been the result of various sporting events that have taken place. (I apologize to those of you who may not be sports fans, but I think you will still be able to identify with the subject matter.) It was not anything in the sporting events themselves that has convicted me, but rather the reactions and attitudes that other people and I displayed regarding the events.
Unfortunately, many of my friends and relatives and I are fans of the Atlanta Braves, who were recently humiliated in the World Series. Many of us were extremely frustrated and upset at their lacklustre performance and consecutive losses, and we voiced and demonstrated this frustration.
On the other hand, I am a graduate of Virginia Tech, and our football team has won every game this season and achieved its highest ever national ranking. My reaction to each of the wins, and the steady climb through the rankings, was one of great jubilation and excitement.
While there is nothing wrong with the reactions of disappointment or joy, the problem comes in that I do not feel that I, or many other Christians like me, express the same degree of emotion and concern about the team of which we ourselves are members: God's Team!
These days, it often seems as though we are not on the winning team. The majority of the world is not saved, and many do not even know who Jesus is. Yet few Christians seem to express great disappointment at the fact that our team is losing. Day after day, game after game, Christians are defeated. Where is that team loyalty and excitement that we express towards our favourite football or baseball team? We need to get frustrated that we are losing, so that it will inspire us to do something about it.
But on the flip side of the coin, there are many occasions when our team has the opportunity to celebrate a victory. At the church I attend, there is not a Sunday that goes by where someone does not make a decision to follow God. Yet week in and week out, many of our members walk out the back door before the decisions are known. (Getting to that restaurant five minutes early makes such a big difference.) Here we have one of the lost sheep being found, a time that calls for extreme celebration and joy! Our team just won the game. The trophy is ours. Where is the excitement?
As Christians, we are all a part of the greatest team in the universe. It's time we started showing a little team spirit. We all have our positions to play, but, at the same time, we all have to be cheerleaders for the team.
Let's Go, Team!
Prayer: Lord, give us, as members of Your team, a passion for Your honour and a zeal for Christ's victory in the lives of men and women. In Jesus' name. Amen.