Sitting on the Sidelines? Get in the Game!

I love a good game of football! Does that surprise you? (My youngest brother played football in high school and college, and my mother was an avid football fan. I come by it honestly!)

Lane and I watched the college football playoffs last night (Alabama and Ohio State), and though the team we were rooting for lost, we thoroughly enjoyed the game. The excitement of a great catch and run to the end zone, or an unexpected fumble in favor of our team, kept us glued to the TV despite the growing disparity in points.

I know football is a dangerous sport. Last night we saw at least 3 players leave the game because of their injuries. And all the players risk injury every time they line up on the field. So why do they do it? Why do they take that risk week after week?

Is it to become famous? For some, yes. Is it to prove they have what it takes? Maybe. Is it to be part of a winning team or be inspired by an exceptional coach? Possibly. But I venture to say, for most it is because they LOVE TO PLAY! They were made to play football. They don’t want to just sit on the sidelines! A “real” football player is made for action, needs “skin” in the game.

I’m content to sit on the sidelines of a football game because I was NOT made to play football. I love to watch, but I do not have a “death wish!”

Sometimes I feel like I am sitting on the sidelines of life. Just playing it safe. Do you ever feel that way?

Afraid to actually get in the game….take a risk….do what I was made to do. I am living my comfortable life in my comfortable house eating my “comfort food” because…….it’s comfortable! (Really easy to do when you are “retired” or quarantined because of COVID!). I don’t have to risk anything. I’m good right where I am.

*Just FYI: I am NOT sitting on the coach eating “bon-bons” and binge-watching endless series of Netflix shows all day long. Just wanted to clarify, in case you had that picture in your mind:-).

But God has so much more for me to do, for us to do! I’m running out of time. (You’re running out of time.) I’m 60 now (not ashamed to admit it)!! And every day is a gift, an opportunity to pursue the ALL God has for me, wants for me, and wants for His Kingdom.

So why would I sit on the sidelines when God made me for a purpose, something He has uniquely gifted me to do, or will empower me to do?

Fear? Jesus, the Son of God, says “Do not be afraid. I am with you always.”

Uncertainty? God says, “In all your ways acknowledge me, and I will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:6

What if…? God says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Why me? Because God calls me (and you!) to serve, to love, to be His hands and feet, to be His light in a dark, dark world. God says (through Paul, his apostle), “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (the great heroes of faith who have gone before me), let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

But how? He goes on to say, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3.

Am I willing to risk everything to take up my cross and follow Him? Are you?

I’m not sure what it will look like, this getting “off the sidelines” and into “the game.” God is just calling me to action and obedience. Just like He called those heroes of the faith: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Peter, Paul…… They didn’t really know what would happen, or if they would even see the fulfillment of God’s promise, but they took the risk. They stepped “into the game.”

Will there be obstacles? Yes! (think COVID 19!)

Will it cost me? Yes! But do I really want to “play it safe” the rest of my life? NO!

Will God be with me? YES!!

Let’s get in the game!

I’m ready to get “off the bench” and risk “injury!” Not sure what that looks like, but I’m going to find out!!

Anybody else with me?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me get off the “sidelines” and find that place you want me. Take away any fear, uncertainty, or doubt and replace it with excitement, purpose, and direction. And if there is a reader that hasn’t taken the leap of faith to accept Jesus, your Son, as Lord and Savior, give them the courage to get off the sidelines and “get into the game” of life with You!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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