Typical of rural America, especially in the south, as I was growing up all activities revolved around school sports programs, mainly football. During my high school years we had one year where our team were the champions and one year when they didn’t win one single game. Yet we still attended and supported the “Rabs.” The games were where we met up with friends and afterward cruised through town, circled the dairy bar, back down to the swimming pool, and back up to the dairy bar where money would be pooled and the eating of French fries and the sipping of cokes commenced. Hearts were won and heartaches drowned in root beer floats in that parking lot.
My oldest son, Richard, turns thirty this week, my how time flies! He and his wife recently moved to town and not much has really changed except there is a Wal-Mart (not even the super store variety) and a McDonalds at the end of the “main drag.” Life still revolves around the sports programs at school and church activities. They love that small town charm and both are very involved in the community. Richard coaches little league baseball and football. It no longer surprises me to attend a game on Saturday where the stands are packed with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and people from town at large - all decked out in their purple and white, kids with faces painted, waving pom-poms and shaking noise makers.
Lined up in neat little rows in front of the bleachers are about 30 or 40 first and second grade cheerleaders in all shapes, sizes, and colors cheering the Fighting Jackrabbits to victory. They clap their hands and chant “We’ve got spirit – yes we do! We’ve got spirit – how ‘bout you?” then point to the crowd who responds in kind. Spectators jump to their feet shouting and clapping when a good play is made and groan when a tackle happens. After the game people mingle and congratulate the boys whether they win or loose. Pats on the back continue as all head to that same dairy bar for cokes and lunch where the game is rehashed and talk of the next game begins.
What if we took that fan mentality to church? The service begins as the associate pastor leads with 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 the Lord our God is really Great…2 – 4 – 6 – 8 the Lord our God is really GREAT, 2 – 4 – 6 – 8 THE LORD OUR GOD IS REALLY GREAT! YEEEAAAAAA GOD! Hands clap…break…let’s praise the Lord and the worship team takes over.
Might not be too reverent, but follow me just a minute…the pastor lays out the scripture, the story unfolds… “David winds up his slingshot and the one pebble hits Goliath right in the middle of his forehead and down he topples. Not his might but the power of the Lord slew that giant.” The entire congregation is now on its feet shouting and clapping.
Imagine the person who attends your church that you have been praying for finally goes to the altar and accepts Jesus as their savior…a praise wave breaks out as row by row, people spontaneously stand, raise their hands, shout hallelujah and sit down again.
I guess what I am getting at is that so many times our Christianity seems just a bit passive. We serve; teach classes, pray for others, support each other quietly. Why not go big? I am not talking about bragging about being a Christian or bragging about what you do to serve…I’m talking about getting excited about being a Christian, getting excited about serving, getting excited when we see Him working, groaning when someone on our team makes a fumble or gets tackled. I am talking about cheering that person on…when victory is on the way.
After the football game people go off and head back to their lives as accountants, lawyers, doctors, the cashier at the local store or gas station, mechanics, secretaries, politicians just the same as after church service. The difference is co-workers might never know they are a Jackrabbit fan and attended a game bedecked in purple and white, with face painted, etc.
It should not be the same with being a Christian. We are who we are outside the doors of our churches…not inside. Are you as excited about being a Christian as you are about your favorite sports team? If not, then why? I agree your relationship with God is personal but you should be so excited about it that others know without a doubt whose team is your favorite. YEEEAAAAAAAAA GOD!
Galations 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~NKJV