Tuesday, August 17

Team Effort

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? --Galatians 3:3

Over the last few days I have substituted my usual Frasier reruns with a good dose of the Olympic Games. I am amazed at the amount of effort, strength and personal drive that is reflected on each of the athlete’s faces. It is inspiring to see so much talent representing our country.

Team events like gymnastics particularly intrigue me. As the individuals compete, they are mindful that their personal scores are calculated as part of the team’s average. In years past, the lowest individual scores were dropped. That is not the case in Greece this year. Every competitor is scrutinized as they perform, and every tenth of a point counts. Judges are watching, and the world is watching.

Think about how this compares to living a Christian life in the ever-watchful eye of the secular world. Few will argue that we can simply do as we please and not worry about how that reflects on our fellow Christians. Whether we like it or not, the world is watching and making judgments about our “performance”.

I have to admit that I myself have been prone to judge the church as a whole based on a few bad experiences with individuals. I can easily see why people outside the church fail to foster amicable feelings about Christians. It is not difficult to see why some people criticize Christians—calling them hypocrites—and prefer to stay away from the church altogether.

The sad fact in many cases is that the world, on a certain level, is right. I am not saying that there are no decent people in the church. There are—many of them! However, try as we may, we cannot make up for our teammates whose performances are considerably lackluster. No human can ever accurately reflect or duplicate the perfection in character exhibited by Jesus.

If the world decides to judge the church by scrutinizing the performance of Christians, than they have missed the point. Christians are a poor example of what the church really is. The greatest example of perfection—in fact the only example—is seen in the church’s head figure, Jesus. Where we have failed, He has triumphed. Where we have been disqualified, He has finished the competition. How blessed we are to share in His victory even though we are each the weakest member of the team.


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