Day Sixteen
Pastor Randal Alquist
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Leaves are long gone, naked branches reach across the clear expanse, the turf glitters as the sun wearily yawns across the frozen scape. Men and women rush to warm retreats to decorate rooms with regalia, wings with buffalo sauce, and bodies with favorite jerseys and the names of decorated heroes. It’s football season, and the crowd is thinning; teams of weekend warriors push on to the big event, the super bowl. Living vicariously through these modern-day, pigskin toting, gladiators we shout opinions and curse the feeble strategies unfolding on the field of play. 

To those of us galloping sideways, whirling wildly as the game progresses forward, hands swollen from violent clapping momentarily relieved by cupped shouted breath. We fan the flames of a field that many know nothing about, determined to invest all but flesh in this game of Life on Fire. We live as if sideline interjection somehow influences the outcome of a game we never had the energy or courage to play, settling into our safety as we vicariously play life lived by someone else bolder, called, or more gifted. 

Life, real life with Christ calling the plays, can be far too challenging, emotional, raw, so video screens and hurled opinions from behind bulletproof glass can become our feeble contribution. Yes, we are safe here on the sideline and close enough to hear the clashing of armored bodies and hear the cries of victory. Sadly though, far too many of us are dead, relegated to the bench by our enemy, fear or self-doubt. So we become satisfied with Sunday sacraments, missions forgotten, unable to be used by God. The same God who drafted us into a life of risk and adventure, trusting Him and fearing nothing or nobody.

It’s time to rise, time to seize the baton firmly extended on the day of Jesus’ departure. A healthy life in Christ is a life that lays itself down for the sake of others. There is a saying, “anything is ok in moderation,” this is true when it comes to ice cream and enjoying television. It is not, however, when we try to lift it up as a lifestyle aware of the Holy Spirit and the mission of Jesus. Let’s not forget who we are and the great battle before us. Jesus is calling your name. Step onto the field of play and let His light shine. 

Spoiler alert: Our team wins!

PRAYER: God, no longer allow me to sit on the sideline of my faith. Give me the boldness to express your love and compassion for those who are hurting and unaware of your grace. Fear has no place in my life. You are made strong in my weakness; when I am not enough, remind me that you are. Draw me towards your lost ones and open my ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Help my unbelief and use me to do your will. Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play! In Jesus’ name, Amen.