I wonder how many sport fans there are today in the body of Christ? I would probably venture to say that there are probably too many to count; me being one of them. If you are a true sports fan, I am sure you have currently been following what is refered to as ‘March Madness’ on TV. For those who may not know, March Madness is the time of the year when 64 basketball teams play in a tournament until there is only one team left standing with no loses and crowned the College basketball champs of 2013. Being from Las Vegas, I am a true fan of the UNLV ‘Runnin Rebels’ The ‘Runnin Rebels have made it to the Final Four before but most importantly, they were the 1990 basketball champions when they beat Duke, by a score 103-72, which still stands as record today as the biggest margin in tournament history and the first and up to this date only team to ever score over 100 points in a championship game. The city of Las Vegas went crazy after that great victory. The reigning champion Runnin Rebels then entered the 1991 NCAA tournament unbeaten through the regular season, only to sadly lose to Duke in the semifinal game.
In every NCAA Basketball Tournament you will always find what is referred to as the ‘Cinderella Team’ which is a team that knocks off what most people thought was the best team en route to the championship. The bottom line is that at the beginning of March Madness, 64 teams enter the tournament and only one team is left standing undefeated and crowned the ‘Winning Team’
Too often as Christians we forget that we are already on the ‘Winning Team’ The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us (you and me) the ‘victory’ through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I believe the reason so many Christians forget they already are on the winning team is because they continue to focus their attention on what may seem as defeats which are currently going on around them, as well as in their life. When we choose to look only at what the outward results may be as our sign for success; too often that may mislead us.
The Lord sent the prophet Samuel to the home of Jesse for the Lord had rejected Saul as king and He was going to have Samuel anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. As Jesse’s sons stood before Samuel, he saw Eliab and Samuel thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” Haven’t we all been guilty at one time or another of making that same mistake in life?
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his (Eliab) appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I often wonder how many Christians have disqualified themselves from ever being used by the Lord because of something in their past or a fault in their life that constantly plagues them? At one time I was one of those people.
As I was driving the other day, I happen to drive past this small church. As I looked at this church, I wondered how many times that Pastor may have thought to himself, ‘I must not be doing much for the Lord’s kingdom, for as I drive by all those mega-churches in the city with their parking lots full and see their wonderful programs and speakers, the Lord surely must not even know I exist.’
I had the honor last year to visit a church we as a church have been sponsoring in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, I had the opportunity to visit a dear pastor friend of mine in one of the province’s of the Philippines. My dear friend’s church is tucked far away in a small rice farming community. If my friends church was ever packed out, it may hold 50 people. When I arrived there I was greeted by my pastor friend and his wonderful wife. After taking me on a tour of their place, I was led into their small sanctuary, where I was warmly greeted by 10 very small children of the local farming community that attend this church, They then proceeded to do a wonderful presentation they had put together just for me. I was so moved by these small children that I asked then to lay hands on me and pray for me. One by one, these beautiful little boys and girls prayed over me, and it brought tears to my eyes.
You may not ever read about my dear friends work in that small rice farming community in the Philippines or hear about them on the latest Christian TV show, but let me tell you, the Lord in heaven is not only rejoicing in heaven as He sees the wonderful work they have been doing there for the past 20 years but I can almost picture the Lord proudly sticking out His chest as He says, ‘Those are my wonderful children!’
My dear brother and sister, if we seek only the approval of man or even for the approval of our fellow Christians on the work we sense the Lord has laid on our heart, we will be sadly disappointed. Our work for the Lord in this life may not bring news cameras, make the best sellers list or even draw large crowds but as we are faithful, our Lord in heaven sees it and He is pleased; for you see, you are already on the winning team!!!!
Categories: A Pastor's Blog