Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
This morning we were trying to keep in touch with our grandchildren as we watched them play soccer. Both have been playing soccer for some time now. Noah’s game was a nail biter as they won 3 to 2 in the very last seconds of the game. By the way, this is the first game they have won all season. Noah said they won because we were there. We proudly accepted his accolades. Abby, on the other hand did not receive the same lucky presence from her grandparents. I guess the rabbit’s foot got a little worn out between games. Abby’s team wins when we are not there and loses when we are… kinda makes you wonder?
Near the end of Abby’s game they are losing 5 to 2. On the sideline, sitting side by side, are four of her teammates, three little girls and one little boy, chanting as if cheerleaders in a low voice: “The game is almost over and we are going to lose.” Over and over and over they repeated this chant while their coach stood right next to them. He must really be focused or perhaps he was thinking the same thing. When the game finally ended this little squad cheered “Yeeeeaaaaaaaaaa”. I was with them… it was quite hot out there and I was ready to find some cool air.
It is fun to watch kids, young kids, play sports of any kind. Most of them have a completely different agenda. Some are more concerned with how they look in their uniform… this is usually the girls. Others run a little and walk a little… you know, not completely in the game. Then there are those kids that are very good and very aware of the game. They are the ones who are giving everything they have no matter what the score… winning or losing they are giving their best.
I have been all of those (except wondering how my uniform looked) over the years. When I first started playing sports, basketball in a Grey Y league in the fourth grade, I tried my best even though I didn’t know what I was doing. Over the years as I learned more about the sport I gave more of myself.
One of the things I learned in sports, something this little band of cheerleaders have yet to learn, is that no matter what, you do not give up. You continue to play, continue to hustle no matter what the score. It is called play till you hear the whistle.
That is also something we need to learn in our faith. Some of us just stand around with out heads and hearts not completely in the game. Others of us wonder how good we look in our faith. Still others fight all the way through to the end.
When we stop fighting we are giving up hope that things will ever be any different. We feel like we have already lost the game and there is no sense in putting anymore into a losing proposition.
Jesus turns to his disciples saying are you going to leave me too? Are you going to give up, quit giving your best? And they answer: “To whom can we go? You are the One who has the Word of life.” What are you chanting in your little group… the game is over… or let’s go team… Jesus is on our side. Your answer makes a world of difference.
Dear Lord, thank you for allowing us to enjoy our grandchildren playing sports and giving their best, as they see it. Help us to live a life before them that encourages them to give their very best and never, ever give up… especially when it comes to faith. In and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace