Are You Running a One-Man Show?

“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’” Gen. 2:18a

Football has been in my blood ever since I watched Y.A. Tittle chuck a pass to his tight end, Billy Wilson, back in the early 1950’s. The excitement, passion, pageantry, and strategic planning associated with this great sport all seem to resonate with my character.

As a young person I would come home from Sunday church and immediately put on my football helmet and prepare for the television game of the week. Because my father worked on Saturdays and got home late during the evenings, there really wasn’t much time for us to throw the ole pigskin around. Sunday’s televised football game was about the only time we were able to bond around something we both enjoyed.

It was rare for me to sit through an entire game. My excitement spilled over to our long front yard where I lived out all my fantasies about someday being an NFL player. Our neighborhood was primarily made up of girls who were more interested in playing dolls than throwing a football. I didn’t let the fact that there weren’t a bunch of guys to play a pick-up game with, the fact that my front yard had cement walkways scattered throughout the yard, or the fact that I was not physically suited to play the game bother me.

I pretended to be an NFL quarterback, snatching the ball from center, then racing back to chuck a pass as far and high as I could throw. This gave me time to race down to the end of the lawn to make a diving catch—sometimes landing on the lawn and sometimes on the walkways.

It had to look very strange—pathetic even—to anyone driving by the house and noticing the skinny young lad playing a one-man football game. To play the quarterback and receiver was not enough for me, though. I was the announcer too! I called out the play-by-play action with all the enthusiasm, sounds, and football jargon I could muster at eleven years old. My imagination was in overdrive, calling out fantastic tackles, kick returns, and the inevitable victory celebration after each score. Some days I would come in so exhausted from “the game” that I’d literally have to crawl into bed to recover.

My passion carried over into high school where the coach told me I was too thin (5’11”- 135lbs) to play. Without even checking out my skills, he told me to go out for golf instead. Perhaps he was right; playing football in Oakland back in the late fifties was nothing short of going into combat. Most players were guys who had flunked a grade or two and had the physical maturity of a man. They were big and strong—intimidating for sure. Unfortunately, most formations called for two big tight ends and very quick running backs. I was neither. The idea of using an undersized flanker with good hands hadn’t reached the high school level yet. That left me to play pick-up games during the off-season with friends.

When I finally got to college, and could actually fill out a large jersey, the only option left was to play intramural sports…and frankly, that just wasn’t that satisfying.

I may have missed the opportunity to become a professional football player, but I didn’t miss the draft for the most important team—a team with a mission far greater than any NFL game or championship: God’s Team. At first glance, the players aren’t always that impressive. They may lack talent or physical ability, but they’ve got heart! You don’t have to “try-out”, have a storage unit full of trophies, or a résumé of successes. It costs us nothing to join. The team is of divine inspiration. Once a player takes the opportunity to commit his allegiance to the team, he needs to be dedicated and passionate in his faith. He needs to be a team- player, encouraging his teammates, and reaching out to recruit others.

When Jesus gave out the Great Commission, just before He left His disciples, He challenged all of us to join in on the battle for souls. It was a call that was for more than just our pastors or missionaries. It was a call to all folks who call themselves Christians. “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matt. 28:17-20.

One thing you won’t find when playing for God’s Team is benches. Benches are for folks who don’t play. God’s serious about His Team! He wants committed hearts, fully devoted to Him. Jesus tells us to pick up our cross (dedication, faith, commitment, skills, abilities, experience, passion, compassion, and obedience) and follow Him.

You might say, “I can’t make His Team. I don’t have any experience. I’m not good enough. Look at me; look at my life!” And that’s the beauty of it. Jesus has enough room on His Team for the outcast, forsaken, sick, and the lost.

Let’s be clear, because metaphors can only go so far. Jesus came to save us, and He wishes that none would be lost. When we confess our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He is faithful to save us for all eternity…and we become followers of Christ.

When we follow Christ, we are transformed. As we spend time with Him, He heals our hearts and builds character in us that brings Him glory. We join Him in His mission rather than chasing after our own ambitions. When we pursue Him with passion and devotion, we discover a deep and satisfying relationship with the Creator of the Universe!

Going through life without God is like playing mock football. You make all the plays, all the calls, and all the scores, but you’re alone. You work hard, live out your fantasy, and think you’re in control, but for what? At some point we have to realize it was all just a reality we created. It doesn’t last, it doesn’t count for much, and in the end it doesn’t satisfy. I simply don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be on God’s Team.

If you’re not on His team, you need to be! Join today!

The Power of Truth:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” Matt. 16:24

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Suggestion for Prayer:
If you haven’t really given your life to Christ, if you’ve been trying to run a one-man show, consider doing it now. He’s waiting.