Last week, I felt it. Maybe you did too. Sunday morning, August the 12th, the temperature dipped down to the upper 50’s in our area. I know, it’s August and we have more than a month before Fall officially begins, but that brief dip of the thermometer couldn’t keep me from thinking about the Boys of Fall. Growing up painfully close to “Big Orange” country, you couldn’t help but hear on the radio every Saturday in the fall, “It’s football time in Tennessee!” We’ve had our fill of badminton, synchronized swimming, table tennis, and rhythmic gymnastics. But now it is time for a real sport. Yes, it is time to huddle up, call the play, and throw the ball. It’s football time again!
As the clock ticks down to kickoff, some important questions must be asked. Who is on your team? What does your starting lineup look like? Does your team have a quarterback controversy? How many of your players stayed out of jail over the summer? When the whistle blows, who is going to kick? Who is going to receive?
The answer to those questions and a bunch of other questions are what makes football so much fun. Watching the players huddle up, call the play, and execute the play is medicine for the football fan’s soul. We all know that every play has one singular goal – to get the ball into the end zone. And every player on the field knows that his job is to help get the ball into the end zone, even if he never touches the ball.
The church could learn a lot from a football team. What if everyone in the church had the same determination to reach people as running backs have to score touchdowns? What if everyone in the church had the same determination to rescue people from hell as corner backs have to intercept passes from their opponents? It might be a good idea for us to huddle up from time to time and make sure that everyone knows his or her assignment so that our team can do a better job of moving the ball to the end zone.
In Joshua 23, Coach Joshua calls together his starting lineup for a huddle. The game has been hard fought, and victory is almost assured, but the clock still has time and the opponents are very, very capable, and not opposed to playing dirty. What play does he call? We see it in verse 6, “Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left…” This is not a risky Hail Mary pass down the sideline or a complicated reverse play. It is straightforward and to the point. Simply stated, the play is to do God’s work, God’s way. All that the Israelites have to do is execute that play, keep their assignments, and move the ball. And God says that they will not be defeated.
That’s a good play for the church to run. Do God’s work, God’s way. We will no doubt mess up. Somebody will miss an assignment or overlook the blitz. From time to time, we simply need to huddle up and refresh everyone on the goal. We need to remember where we’re going. We need to focus on our calling. We need to depend on our team. We would all do well to recognize that as Christians, our place is not in the stands, waving big Styrofoam “We’re #1” fingers, rather our place is on the field. Our place is with our team. Our place is the end zone, celebrating the victory that we have in Christ. So, are you ready to suit up? After all, it is football time again!