Pastor, Caddo First Baptist Church
In high school, I discovered some things about myself. I wasn’t the fastest kid on the team. I didn’t have the greatest arm on the team, and I wasn’t the best hitter on the team. Somehow, I always made the team. I always found myself on the field, and I managed a starting position.
What I discovered was that more than anything, I loved being part of a team. I loved the friendships, the “Iron sharpening Iron” of a long, hot practice. I loved the way “Coach” Horace Neaves would grin and say, “Boys, you’re gonna run till I get hot and thirsty.”
I needed the practice. I needed the encouragement. I needed the correction. I needed to sweat, to work, and to be pushed to go the extra 90 feet when I felt like I couldn’t go another inch. Indeed, many times I would stand on the first baseline with 13 other young men, looking through sweat filled, burning eyes at the space between second and third base. Dreading the words from Coach that I knew were coming, “Let’s go again boys.” But the with one word, “Go” we would all do together what none of us could have done alone – we would take off toward that empty space across the pitcher’s mound, that now seemed a mile away.
But then, exhausted, tired and drenched in sweat that now resembled a hardened clay mud. A mud that only the hot Oklahoma sun could bake into a paste on our faces would come the best words ever: “Good job boys, see yall tomorrow,” coach would say.
It was over. I had survived. We had made it together. A team had endured another hot August afternoon that had now turned to evening. It would be two weeks before school would start, and we’d play an actual game, but we’d all be back out there tomorrow… the entire team. Sweating, aching, laughing and working toward one goal… opening day!
In Hebrews chapter 10, the bible speaks to the importance of being on a team: And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
What does a team do for us in light of that text?
A team looks forward to getting together, working and sweating, and does not allow itself to develop the habit of missing practice. Likewise, shouldn’t our local churches be so much more in the habit of joining together with each other. We need to draw strength from each other in order to do things that we would never accomplish on our own.
Don’t skip around from church to church. Don’t miss more church than you attend. Don’t complain about your church. Work together to accomplish the mission and goal of proclaiming the good news of Christ. Don’t simply ask what the church can do/provide for you, rather what you can do for the glory of God alongside the body of Christ.
Show true concern for each other, not self. Promote love and good work, not complaints and a selfish attitude. Don’t get in the habit of not attending and most of all, encourage each other!
In these “last days,” the finish line may seem like it’s a thousand miles or years away. Truth is, it’s just across the pitcher’s mound. Don’t abandon your team. Wipe the sweat from your bow and listen one more time, “GO!” Now pick up those feet and all together run the final wind sprint and then listen for coach to say, “Well done!”