Last night was one of the coldest nights this fall. As good fortune would have it, I was able to spend 2 ½ hours in the cold watching soccer. It was Jacob’s, our youngest child, championship game.
The game was intense with regulation play ending at a zero to zero tie. Next came the shootout for the tie breaker. Each team puts five guys on the field. They all take penalty shots on the opposing goalie and the team who scores the most wins and in this case holds the bragging rights for the year.
I was proud as my son was selected as the first player to take a penalty shot. His shot was beautiful, arching over the top of the goalies head beyond his reach and falling lightly into the net.
In the end it took 10 players shooting to break the tie. The final score of the game was 6-5, we lost. It struck me that the TEAM either wins or loses. Individual performance doesn’t guarantee victory, however, it does count.
I am increasingly aware that this battle God has called Answering the Call to be engaged in is a team effort. This would imply that anyone who is called to this particular battle affects others in the battle by his or her level of performance. I have been challenged personally that my performance can greatly impact the whole team. I have also seen that even if I perform well, it does not necessarily guarantee a victory since what I am engaged in is a team sport.
I have been thinking lately, and gratefully, about all the participants involved in this battle. Literally hundreds of individuals who give and who pray. Partner churches that invest dollars, people, and time. Partners overseas who, at points, literally jeopardize their well-being to engage in the conflict. It is an amazing thing to behold.
Most of all I feel honored. I feel honored to be on the team with a man in Sudan who walked for three months so that his people could hear the gospel rather than take a free plane ride to America . I am greatly honored to be on the team with a man in Congo who labors intensely and without hesitation to plant churches, feed hungry children, and minister to shattered women. How about the guy in Northern Asia who has planted over 100 churches among his Muslim neighbors? Oh yeah, and the guy who puts his life on the line in the Middle East to plant cells in neighboring closed churches. Don’t you see it? It’s an all-star line up and you and I get to be on that team!
It’s really not about a single performer. It is a team game. To my fellow teammates, you are an encouragement to me. Let’s stay in the game until the Lord comes, once and for all, to usher in the final victory.