Throughout my elementary and Jr High school years, I played football and basketball. I spent countless hours having coaches teach me the rules, show me how plays worked, and instruct me in the fundamentals. Then when the practice was over, my dad would do his own coaching. He would share stories of his experiences and how he handled them.
By the time I reached high school, I realized I was short, slow, and too heavy to be a star. The thought of practicing hours and hours for a few garbage minutes in blowout games was crushing to me, and I decided to quit.
Then I transitioned to a new role. I became a spectator. Now I would sit in the crowd and watch what the other students were doing. But I was not just anyone in the stands; I had a thorough working knowledge of the game. I knew how things were supposed to run and could spot mistakes. I could criticize in specific ways that might be helpful to the team if they only listen to me. I was the informed spectator.
This is not just a story about sports; it’s an analogy for faith. Many people started walking with Jesus and added some basic Christian knowledge. Somewhere along the way, they realized that being a disciple of Jesus was tough. It requires hours of gaining knowledge and the willingness to implement it. It would push them to do things they were uncomfortable with and form habits that seemed like learning a foreign language.
One day the decision was made to become a spectator. We start showing up on Sunday and telling the people doing the work how they could improve. We suggest practices that could help them grow in their work. We might even talk to other people in the crowd, and we could all agree on how the players could improve. Everyone should listen to us because we are not just fans but informed spectators.
Jesus called us to be disciples, not spectators.