From the video that showed us how NOT to get in the game to the ordination of four new ministry leaders to the challenge of Hebrews 11 & 12 to the many people who stepped up and said, “Put me in the game” — Sunday was a very good day. Fourteen folks joined with our church family, and many more came forward to take their next step of faith.
For some, this involves ministry outside our building. For others, it’s about learning to lead another person to faith. And for many more of us, it was the simple commitment to pray everyday this month for someone we know who needs to know the love of Jesus. In short, at Fern Creek Christian, we said that we want to be in the game, not on the bench.
Like my friend Walt. He played high school football growing up in the 1940s in western Massachusetts. In the final game of his senior year, the QB on Walt’s team went back and heaved the ball as far as he could. Walt ran as fast as he could to get under it – and going full speed, he caught the ball, turned around, and there were the goalposts.
WHAM! Walt hit the goalposts head-on, and he was knocked out cold. Even so, he held onto the ball for the touchdown. They got Walt off the field, but it wasn’t very long before the coach put him back in. (Too soon, Walt remembers, even 70 years later.)
No doubt, he was right. We’re just now learning that lesson, so certainly in the 1940s they weren’t as aware of the effects of head injuries in football. And in Walt’s day, the helmets were only made of leather. And even though the helmets didn’t change, by the next season the goalposts did. Walt said a reporter wrote a story about his collision, and based on that, the uprights were padded in time for the next season.
Although Walt’s game day clearly should have ended when he was knocked out, there’s a lesson from Walt that still resonates with us 70 years later. YOU need to be in the game. You were not made for the bench. You were not made to watch, to observe, or even just to cheer. You were made for the action.
(By the way, this got even truer for Walt, when, three months after that mind-numbing collision with the uprights, he was on an aircraft carrier. In other words, he really stepped up his game.)
I am grateful to be a part of a church family where so many have said: I’m in the game — where we listen to the Spirit, we respond to the Spirit, and we GO in the Spirit.
I’m in the game. Are you?