When Jesus called his apostles to follow Him, the scriptures tell us that they left their worldly ventures behind. In the opening chapter of the gospel of Mark, we discover that many of these followers were fishermen. Jesus utilized their profession to steer them towards a different type of seeking outside of themselves.
“As he was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. ‘Follow Me,’ Jesus told them, ‘and I will make you fishers of men!’ Mark 1:16, 17
This word picture of sharing the message of salvation with those they met along the way was a wonderful analogy of the Great Commission. It is actually still in force today asALL of us have a position that counts on God’s Team. With that stated, I would like to use a different (and somewhat similar) correlation as the NFL kicks-off their 2016 season. This scenario begins with the Church Team’s Offense on the field and their Opponent’s Defense awaiting the action.
The Church Team realizes they’ve all got to play, so they’re on the field in a huddle. They huddle…and huddle…and huddle. The referee calls a penalty for delaying the game and then moves the ball back five yards. Still the team huddles and huddles…and huddles.The referee calls penalty after penalty after penalty, until finally the ball is moved all the way back to their own goal line. “Hey, Coach!” shouts the quarterback to the sidelines. “This is the greatest huddle I’ve ever been. What a group of guys! We have the best fellowship…and some of these guys are amazing students of the play book. Some have memorized over 100 plays and can analyze them precisely.”
It is wonderful and exciting that we learn so much in our “congregational huddles!” Spending time together in worship and fellowship is encouraged within God’s Word, butwhy don’t we get up on the line and play? Why should we? What many of our Lord’s so-called followers really desire are bigger and better huddles! Besides, we might get hurt….No one ever gotten hurt in a huddle! Our congregations are in big trouble if they become only a “Holy Huddle,” that is a band of Saints (not New Orleans) gathered Sunday after Sunday as we sing, praise and fellowship but never get out on the playing field to apply what we learn.
We are supposed to be Christ’s body—His hands, His feet, His voice—by which He carries out His plans in the world. God intends that we, His Followers, are to be a part of this process: “…through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known”(Ephesians 3:10).
The church is to be God’s light in a dark world. However, the Christian life was never meant to be lived only in a church building for a few hours on Sunday. It is meant to be lived in the public arena – “doing some fishing” – at school, the workplace and within our neighborhoods. Of course, we also need worship and fellowship with other Christians—just like a football team needs the huddle. But remember, it is what happensafter the huddle that really counts.