I didn’t watch much sports this year. The NBA obviously is in disarray. I could care less about the NBA and I would not be upset if the league failed to exist. The NFL is all good. They seem to be alright. I’m watching some games. MLB has been the most fun for me because it’s still affordable and is a cleaner game (for me).
When my beloved Texas Rangers made the playoffs again this year, I was stunned. I’ve not watched a full baseball game this year. I did watch most of game 6 the other night. I didn’t watch game 7 at all. But I’d like to share a few things the “ekklesia” — the church, can learn from the Texas Rangers:
1. We should be thankful for the opportunity — As I look at the Star-Telegram this morning it only focused on how “Ranger Strike Out Again.” The sports media in DFW is sick. I can remember just a few years ago when the Rangers season was over in May. Year after year that would happen. I’m thankful we now have a competing team.
The church should be thankful for every opportunity is has to play. We should not be tearing people down. We should know we’ve receive God’s grace and let Him live through us. So many have not yet heard the gospel. How can we not be thankful?
2. We should realize sometimes we give the game away — yes, the Cardinals won the series, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the best team didn’t win. Texas has a better record but didn’t get home field because of the dumb all star game rule. Texas was down to two strikes two times, but botched it. The Cards were good, but leave no doubt the Rangers should have won, everyone knows it. They gave the world series away. Sometimes we just have to admit it. Players and coaches can’t say that because they sound ungracious but it’s true. They should say, “we gave it away.”
I see this often. Christ followers give away the spiritual game. We have only one enemy, Satan. How do we give the game away?
1. We treat sports as more important than gathering with God’s people for worship, so the church struggles to gain momentum, but we expect God to bless us. In America, cultural Christianity is hindering the church and kingdom push.
2. We don’t really grow in our faith, giving lip service to the spiritual disciplines like Bible reading and prayer, giving and witnessing. Most people are not as spiritually mature as they make it out. They are mature in life but not in spiritual fruit.
3. We don’t model for our kids a faith on fire. It’s more like “we are Christian but other things in our lives come first” so there’s no real powerful change in peoples lives. God doesn’t get second best, He gets the tenth best. I try to remember my faith will be tested by how my daughter lives when she is 18-25 years old. That scares me to death.
Ron Washington probably made a few mistakes. But the bottom line is his pitchers gave the game away. They didn’t mean to do it just happens in sports.
One difference in the spiritual life is the opportunity to win is much easier. One of my challenges is watching potential go down the drain.
I’ve so thankful for those who don’t give their faith away. They are not giving the spiritual game away but are running the race in simplicity — getting the prize.
Bottom line – don’t give the game away.