I love football. It’s an irrational love of mine: I hardly understand half of what’s going on out there when I watch it, but I still love it. It’s suspenseful, on-the-edge-of-your-seat entertainment that lasts just as long as a movie, but it’s out in the open, loud and absolutely wonderful. I get it from my mother … When I was a teenager, she fell in love with watching it on TV, and I would sit back and watch her become a fan in the stands, my jaw on the floor. My mom is otherwise pretty reserved … unless there’s a game on. Then she’s comical. But the more I watched her watch it, the more I watched it to see what all the fuss was about, and before I knew it, I was just as ridiculously wrapped up in the game. I lost all sense of propriety and dignity when the games came on. I still do if I’m not careful.
One thing I do understand of the game, though, is the huddle. You can always tell when a coach is going to call time and pull the team in for a chat. There is actually a strategy to it. If the team is winning, he pulls them in to shake up the other team. He’ll discuss strategy, give high-fives, slaps on the rear (I don’t understand that part), or whatever other way the coach chooses to encourage his guys. If the team is losing, the coach will call time right after some awful mess-up, and he’ll have some words of exhortation, maybe some stern correction, whatever he feels may influence them to greatness. Then, when they’ve been fully instructed, the coach breaks up the huddle and sends them back onto the field. The game resumes and hopefully, the team changes some things and ups their game, and is victorious.
I had this epiphany this morning: Jesus had a ragamuffin football team! Think about it: He had twelve disciples, right? But one wasn’t spiritually mature enough to handle the field, so he was relegated to carrying the money bag and following the others around. We’ll liken him to the water boy. The rest of the team – eleven men who wanted to win the world for Christ. Jesus was the coach. So they set out to defeat the enemy in whatever area they came into. Jesus would often pull them aside for times of teaching, and then send them out to the field. They had a holy huddle and then broke up and did their part, each of them working together, using their individual personalities and gifting to minister to the lost. Jesus would teach them, correct them, encourage them, and send them out. His purpose was the game, so to speak, not the holy huddle.
Today, the church seems to have the exact opposite approach to the world. We turn our backs to them, hunch over our bibles, huddle up in a church and call it the Will of God. It’s really starting to bother me. The huddle is as small part of the game! You can’t play the game and be in the huddle all the time. The Bible says don’t forsake the assembling of the brethren, but I don’t think this was what the Lord had in mind. Church should not be a legalistic obligation, and it definitely is not our divine purpose. It should be a holy huddle, where we all get together, teach, exhort, encourage, and LEAVE to get back to the field. Our purpose is to be victorious in a world of darkness. We are to be used by God to overcome the darkness with the light of His presence. If we are huddled over that light, or holding it in our hands between ourselves, the world can’t see it. If we aren’t back out in that field, working together to win, we aren’t doing the team any good.
It is not the Lord’s Will that we exalt our holiness for all the world to see, thereby alienating those whom Jesus came to serve. The sick need a doctor, we know the guy, and we are just being cruel if we would rather watch them die than be healed. It’s time to abandon our pride and so-called dignity, get out there and play our hearts out. If He’s got us on the sidelines right now, let’s cheer on those who are on the field! Let’s encourage, pray for, minister to, and be a part of the winning team. The Lord’s going to win, whether we help or not, but I want to be a part of that victory!