Have you ever watched a team sport where one team really wants to win and the other is just present? The team that wants to win works hard whereas the other seems to stand still. The team that plays to win obviously wins. The best match is when both teams show up to win. The feeling from the fans is, "Why bother playing if you don't want to win?" There are times we may want to shout that thought at our fellow Christians.
Maybe it seems unfair to compare our Christian journey to a sporting event but not really, Paul the apostle did it. In fact, he told us we should be running this race to win. That means all out. Only the runners who desire to win are sure to complete the race. The Christian walk is a walk of effort and discipline. Obviously not an effort for our salvation, that was done for us by Jesus, but we have been left here with a job description and a clear teaching that we are on a walk that involves a process of growing up. That is what takes effort, hard work and discipline.
In Luke 12 Jesus gives us a very stern warning about being faithful stewards. We have been left in charge of the mission and the resources of the Kingdom. These resources aren't for personal gain but for the people we are to be serving, for the purpose of the Kingdom:
Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. (Luke 12:42-43)
Blessed indeed. That is how we all see ourselves and we expect Jesus to be pleased. But sometimes it seems we believe in an Easter Bunny too. Reality tells us we are falling short as stewards. We see ourselves in this fanciful position but that's because we are not measuring ourselves against the proper measuring rod. Jesus is our only measuring rod. Measuring ourselves against imperfection is only going to produce imperfection. We need to be honest with ourselves and if we are honest we admit that we are terrible stewards:
But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (v. 45-46)
Let's wake up to our reality friends. We are in a tough place as the world turns colder, harder and more aggressive. We can't afford to not have our head in this game. We can't afford to make half efforts. We have all the resources of heaven available to us to be faithful stewards. Listen carefully to Jesus' words:
And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (v. 47)
We may not want to be living in these times but we are, and we have been chosen for a reason. Considering that we have died and we no longer live but it is Jesus who lives in us, we are more than conquerors. Nothing is impossible for us because we believe in the one who strengthens us to do his will. Do you hear him cheering us on? Our Coach is with us in the game and he is lending to us what we lack. He makes sure that we are equipped to win but we have to play with our all. We have to leave it all on the playing field. Do you get it?
Let's get our head in the game, get the Word in our heart, get on our knees, accept the resources and use them for Jesus' glory. Our purpose is all about those who are without Jesus. If need be, let us get rid of our worship palaces, scatter the troops and get to work. Let's stop playing church and do what we are suppose to be doing, on the streets, at work, in our neighbours home. Let's tell them about Jesus and allow the Spirit to work through us with power.