Ready to Play?

Last spring, I watched a soccer football game. The teams were not professional, Olympic, collegiate, or high schoolers but boy and girls on the field for the very first time. One of the players was my grandson Eli who had a leg up on the others thanks to his older brother Asher. They dressed like soccer players, shin guards and all. The field looked like a soccer field, although smaller in size. Some of the players knew what to do, others not so much. For instance, a first-time goalie thought it was safer to be behind the net and two girls, bored playing defense, started tumbling. It wasn’t much of a game, more like two mobs chasing a ball. On the sidelines, we cheered, congratulated, and encouraged everyone on the field.

My goal today is to encourage you regardless of the newness of your walk with Christ. As Paul said, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 14:19, NASB95) Let’s take a few minutes today and simply build up each other. No challenge, no three-point application, no judgment, no call to confession, no pointed fingers, only peace and encouragement that builds up.

Probably none of those young players will ever turn pro or play at the Olympics, one or two may play at college, several will probably play in High School. So, is their little exercise worthless?  Of course not. You may never pastor a church, sit in leadership, guide a small group, or do anything but serve in some way and grow in your faith. Is it worthless? Of course not. Paul didn’t say, “only build-up those followers who have it all together.” We are to pursue peace and the building up of everyone regardless of measure.

Wherever you’re at on the journey I encourage you to continue following Christ in all things. I’m cheering for you as you face joys and struggles. I’m shouting for you no matter how well you “play the game.” The very fact that you’re on the field is what is important. Don’t be discouraged by those that seem to effortlessly walk with Jesus, you haven’t seen all of their journey or their secret struggles. Stick with it! Find ways to create peace and build up others as well, even those that have titles or seem to have it all together. In Christ, everyone gets to play; every player encouraged, including you.

Dale Heinold
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