Monday, March 14, 2016
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25(NLT)
…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1(NLT)
If Paul was the author of this letter to the Hebrew Christians, then he was returning to one of his favorite metaphors – sports! As a Roman citizen, Paul was naturally exposed to athletic games, and he used this common ground of boxing, running, racing and competition to help reach people for Christ in the Greco-Roman culture.
One of the key elements of team competition is the huddle before the next play. The team decides how they will work together to defeat their opponent and win the prize.
“Breaking the huddle” is more than a matter of getting ready to execute the plan in the heat of battle – it is also the encouragement ritual Paul was talking about. I recall little about the details of high school football games in which I participated, but I remember vividly how the huddle was always the familiar place of plans and pats on the back. There’s nothing better than the mutual assurance that you’re in this together; the other team members have your back and the struggle and victory will be shared.
But there’s nothing worse than a team where that camaraderie and confidence has been shattered. There is little hope for a team that doesn’t work together.
The church’s worship and training are subject to the same competitive issues as team sports. Of course the “huddle” of worship and Bible study is a holy huddle – or should be. By that I mean, of course, that the subject matter is holy, giving praise and adoration to our God. Working on plans to move forward in spreading the Gospel is like having the quarterback call the plays and direct the team’s movements. We gather together in the holy huddle to train, plan and encourage one another towards that moment when we “break the huddle” to put the plans in motion.
We get in the game! The bell sounds for the next round. The umpire calls, play ball! The referee blows the whistle – and the team leaps into action.
There is a time when the planning, training and even encouraging must give way to the doing of playing the game. There comes a time when the trigger must be pulled!
Imagine a team that meets daily, does warm-ups and body-conditioning, studies the playbook together, practices the rudiments of the game – but never plays a game. It’s all been about the gathering, planning, practice, hugs, and going home.
That kind of team may produce sports writers and critics…but none will ever wear a championship ring!
Paul, at the end of his days and ministry, could look back and say with a clear conscience:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 2 Timothy 4:7(NLT)
Paul played to win – and he had his share of victory dances. But, for Paul it was all about faithfully getting in the game, doing his best, and letting God have the glory.
Think about your church’s holy huddle this past weekend.
Did you be train to do something other than just head for the BBQ place at noon?
When is game time for your team this week?