This last Sunday I used a sports analogy when it comes to our calling as Christ followers, and yes it had to do with football. There is a major difference between being in the huddle and hiking the ball (I hope most of you understand that). But when we are in the huddle we are gaining the knowledge for the upcoming play. We usually give a big clap as we leave to signify that we are unified in our understanding of what we are going to do.
Hiking the ball is the next step. It's when the play happens. It's when chaos ensues, and we hold our breath as we see the outcome.
Sadly in the church, we have gotten confused about what the huddle is and what hiking the ball is. When we meet on Sunday mornings, we are in the huddle. We open the Bible, the one true Word of God, and get the play. We discuss and learn, and we even clap our hands when we sing! So we are in unity, especially before we leave the building.
But hiking the ball? That happens during the week. When we leave our worship building, we are leaving the huddle to execute the 'play' that you were all nodding your heads about, and giving a few Amens.
This is so hard and it convicts my heart as I'm typing this because too many times we believe we are doing our Christian duty by getting up 'early' (don't get me started) on Sunday mornings and warming a seat next to the same people you sat next to the week before. Having the same conversations every single week with the same people-WHO ARE ALREADY HEADED TO HEAVEN.
John 17 is a prayer Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and to all believers. He knows what he's commissioned us to do and he prays for us, and its interesting because Jesus is just hours before his death. He's going to be murdered. Up until this point, he's been teaching his disciples the remaining things they need to know. Now he's done with his instruction, and he just prays for them, and as he's going to die, he's mindful of them. He's mindful of us. As Jesus goes to die, we're on his mind.
I have a hard time rationalizing that Jesus prayed for us just to get together Sunday mornings. He prayed for you and I because we will be hated for what we do. We will be hated for what we believe and who we follow, but Jesus says we will be protected.
I'm excited to pastor a church of people that are willing to hear this hard message, and I'm privileged to stand along side them in this battle we are in. I pray that wherever you worship you are challenged to go out and 'hike the ball' instead of just loving the huddle.
We have been touched, so that we might touch. We have been loved, so that we might love.