Yesterday we attended the Winter Sports Banquet at the high school. Mollie was getting her pin for cheerleading. While we were there I watched all the cheerleaders, basketball players, and wrestlers walk up on the stage and get their various awards. As I sat there and watched them smile, hug the coach, and accept their award, my mind went back in time.
I began to think about each of those players and how they gave all they had during the games. They were sweaty, red-faced, angry at times, and by the end of the second half were usually exhausted. I remembered the coaches as they paced the court, shouted out plays, and took up for their players if a bad call was made. I thought of how they taught those kids the rules and then had to sit back and hope they remembered what they had been taught. I love what Mark H, the JV girl’s coach, said when passing out the awards. “I have mixed feelings about these individual awards. Do they deserve them? Yes! But, we have spent this entire year teaching them to be a team. Without the team, the individual would not have been able to achieve the award.” That is a wise coach.
Are you a team player for God? Do you strive to uplift your brothers and sisters, doing anything possible to win a soul for Christ? A true team player is not playing for individual awards. A true player works hard to have a positive outcome for the team; putting the team above themselves and working so hard to please the coach. Do you please our Heavenly Coach?
I thought back to the cheerleaders that used to ride home with me in the evenings after practice. I remembered how tired they were. I remembered how a lot of times they would have a busted lip, sore ribs, and the occasional black eye.
In cheerleading the flier has to depend on her bases. She has to trust them, and they have to keep their eye on her at all times. “Protect your flier at all cost,” was the motto of the bases. I have seen Mollie come home with bruises and sore ribs from taking a dive to allow the flier to fall on her instead of the hard gym floor. She would say, “Mom, it doesn’t hurt me as bad as it would have hurt her if she had hit her head on that floor.” She was right. Can you imagine falling from over 10 feet in the air and landing on your head? Protection from falling is not the only thing they had to worry about. They had to support their teammate as they lifted her high above everyone else. The fliers had to know that those girls under her would hold her up and keep her from falling. As she was held high above everyone else, waving to the crowd and motivating the fans, she had to keep confidence in her team.
Isn’t this the way it is with us as Christians? Sure, we suffer here on earth while we play the ‘game’. But, in the end there is going to be an Award Banquet. I have no idea what Heaven will be like and I certainly do not understand the rewards we will get. All I know is that my Father promised in His Word that we wouldn’t want to miss it. That’s good enough for me!
You may be going through a trial right now. You may be getting punched in the stomach while someone else is reaching for the proverbial ball. You may be getting kicked in the face as a flier comes crashing down from their high. But, remember this: “In the end it doesn’t matter if you win or lose (here on earth), it’s how you played the game!” If you played the game to the best of your ability, depending on your Heavenly Father for help, and listening to His Holy Spirit, then you will win. No questions asked.