I grew up going to church. As a child, it seemed like we were in church every time the doors were open. Sunday night services went long and often I’d fall asleep on a pew. Over all these years, I’ve heard a lot of sermons. Funny thing, I can’t remember the meaning behind many. Most of the ones I can remember were taught with a story or visual illustration.

Jesus knew what he was doing when he taught with parables!

I’ve been thinking about one of the sermon illustrations from my past; it was a description of a football game. The pastor described the bleachers and all the people sitting in the stands. He described the players with their uniforms and pads taking the field. Some played for the defense, striving to block the progression of the opposing team. Other players played for the offense, working hard to gain new ground. There were bench warmers waiting, ready at any given moment. And off to the side of the bench were the trainers, medics, equipment guy, and water boy.

There are a lot of people involved in a game.

Think about it this way: If the custodians didn’t do their job, the game would be delayed. If the referees didn’t study the rules, there would be complete mayhem. If the coaches didn’t create a game plan, the team would play as individuals, instead of a united force. If the players didn’t train, they would be weak and unable to physically perform. If the medics weren’t ready when players were injured, recovery would take longer. If the waterboy didn’t provide water, the players would get dehydrated and collapse.

In the stands, there are spectators (those that enjoy watching the game sitting down) and there are super fans (obnoxious, body-painted supporters that make a lot of noise). Between the bleachers and the field stand the cheerleaders, chanting out supportive words, working hard to get the fans energized. I can hear them yelling, “Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, waaay back!!”

Now pause.

Think about life. Think about your faith walk. What role are you playing?

Are you a coach? Are you a player? Are you a water boy, cheerleader, or medic?

Or are you a spectator? There is a time to rest and observe, but God calls us to be doers of the word: doers of God’s love.

Jon Weece wrote in his book Jesus Prom, “Too many churches are filled with too many people who are fans of Jesus but not followers of Jesus.”

Where are you in the game? Are you a spectator or a follower?

I challenge you to get in the game.