Pastor’s Pen

Football playoff season is in full swing. I have enjoyed watching the collegiate bowl matchups along with the college football playoff series that will culminate tomorrow evening with the crowning of either Alabama or Clemson as the undisputed National Champion. In similar fashion, the NFL playoffs began yesterday and will continue through Super Bowl Sunday with the coronation of the new world champions. Every year, without fail, my seat in front of the big screen is adorned with all necessary snacks and amenities to insure that I do not miss a game-changing, once-in-a-generation play. I enjoy watching the passion and desire of teams laying everything on the line to attain the ultimate prize. There is something redemptive about those willing to endure strife, overcome adversity, lock into focus and lay everything on the line for themselves and everyone fighting with them.

In many respects, this picture ought be visible to all of those within the community of faith. Unfortunately, many of us view our teammates in the faith as adversaries which causes conflict within the body, confusion about the body, and callous hearts concerning the body. The ultimate honor of suffering with Christ and the ultimate prize of sharing in his resurrection have become secondary to that which we have made primary: the self serving glory of being seen before other believers even at the expense of the work of the cross. As the football teams fight for the prize, the trophy and crowning is not bestowed upon one individual, nor is it possible for one person to win alone. If the prize is to be won, it must be won together.

This is the message for every believer: we must work together toward the glorious prize that Christ made available for us. I am not speaking of the ultimate prize of a heavenly crown. I am referencing the joy of experiencing the Kingdom of God on earth. The fulfilling, restorative life that Christ made possible by becoming the curse so that we could become children of the promise. If those outside of the family of faith are to be persuaded to live lives of Christ-like love, we must labor in a collective love, immovable faith and with goal line persistence to attain the prize of abundant life as new creations in Him. Rejoice and be glad!