Thursday, October 06, 2005
When I was playing High School football, my coach gave some incredibly motivating pre-game speeches. One in particular I remember was before facing the number one team in our conference, the Osceola Seminoles. He explained that they had us beat in every physical aspect of the game except one. They were bigger, faster, and stronger. However, he explained, their hearts were no match for ours. Because we were the underdogs that week, we had endured grueling practices, played with pain and injuries, and studied game film like it was a science test.
He went on to explain the story of the tortoise and the hare. As we all know, the hare came to the race very overconfident and overlooked his competitor, but the tortoise just kept his mind on the finish line and won the race.
Jesus gave a very cool pre-game speech to His disciples in Matthew 10. He had hand picked them, mentored them, and now He was sending them to carry out His Father’s business on earth. He lets them know that it’s going to be tough. He doesn’t sugar-coat anything. He tells them in verse 16 that He’s sending them out “as sheep among wolves.” In verse 19, He says: “When you’re arrested…” By now, these guys are probably thinking: “Hey, I didn’t sign up for this!” They might not have known what they were in for, but something tells me that they did know that they were playing for something bigger than themselves. They were the guys that would lead the way in spreading the life-changing news of Jesus Christ to the world!
I remember the mixed feelings of fear and excitement as I, the quarterback, stepped on the field that night and led the army to battle. Fear, because I knew that they held the physical advantage, but there was excitement because I knew that we were playing for something bigger than ourselves. I wish I could give you a heart-pumping story about how we overcame adversity and “defeated the giant,” but we lost the game 49-6. Trying to make light of the situation, coach said that he forgot to tell us that when a turtle gets on his back, he’s in trouble!
Jesus not only gave that speech to those few men that day, but it was included in the Word of God for us. Sure, many of us won’t have to endure the hardships like the disciples did, but we each have our own sufferings for the cause of Christ. Our advantage is that we know that Jesus’ team wins in the end. Are you on His team?