When I was a kid, cheering for a sports team was simpler.
You knew and cheered for the players on your team. There were no free agents and really good players were rarely traded.
That all changed in the mid-70’s. Now, team rosters vary drastically every season. Last year’s villains might be this season’s beloved heroes. We no longer cheer for players. We cheer for laundry. It’s not about the guy, but the jersey the guy’s wearing.
Like I said yesterday, jerseys are cool.
I have two authentic New York Yankee jerseys in my closet. They’re identical to those worn by the guys who actually play for the Yankees. It’s fun to show them off once in a while, though I don’t wear them to games because I fear mustard stains.
But here’s the thing: I can put on the jersey and the cap and all the fancy equipment, but nobody’s going to mistake me for an actual player.
Wearing the jersey doesn’t make me part of the team. Being on the team involves a lot more than wearing the right laundry.
Fans are involved, even passionate, but they don’t have any real skin in the game. They express an opinion, maybe buy a ticket, but when the game ends they head back to their lives. Win or lose, the jersey goes back in the closet.
Being on the team requires commitment. The players on the field sacrificed to get there. They spent long, lonely hours training and practicing. They risked failure, endured pain, and faced fear in pursuit of a goal.
For the players, the jersey symbolizes commitment to something bigger than themselves. It’s meant to be worn, not displayed. Dirt, sweat, and even some blood stains are okay.
I don’t think Jesus wants fans—even passionate ones. He’s not looking for us to sport the laundry and cheer from the sidelines. I think He wants us to do more than wear a nice, clean, unwrinkled jersey.
I think He wants us to engage, face our fear, and sacrifice courageously together toward something bigger than ourselves. I think He wants followers whose commitment goes deeper than Sunday morning attendance or an opinion on Facebook.
I think He wants followers whose jerseys get sweaty and dirty.
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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com