Have You Made the Cut?, Pt. 1

Matthew 4:18-22 says, “18And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”
Before anyone ever plays a sport, there are always “try-outs”. It is a time for the coach to scope out the potential players and choose which ones he wants to keep for the season. You do not have to be in shape to make the team, or even be a certain age, but as long as you have a few of the basic fundamentals down, you will most likely make the team. Of course, the higher the level you get, the tougher it is to make the team. For example, it was much easier to make the B-team in grade school than it is to make the Varsity Basketball team in high school or college. But, the first goal is to please the coach in the try-outs and make the team.
Spiritually, I want to ask you, “Have you made the cut?” On God’s team, it does not matter how talented or athletic you are, but rather how much of a heart you have for him. The saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard,” and in God’s kingdom, He is searching for the seekers, those who have a heart that is chasing after Him, a people who who are willing to work hard for His glory. You can have all of the talent in the world, but it pales in comparison to a man or woman who has character and a prayer life!
What does it take to make the team? Salvation through faith by God’s grace. Romans 10:9-10 says, “9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” You must believe and confess that He is God, the coach of your life!
What many people do in the church is they make the cut, but then they quit. You do not get a trophy because you made the team, but you have to play in the season and compete for a title. We must have faith and trust in God, but we must also fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives by doing His will. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That word “believeth” literally means “to commit.” If we are committed to God, that does not mean that we just say the sinner’s prayer one time and then go and do whatever we want to, which leads to complete misery. Instead, we must show our faith by our works (James 2:18) and be committed to Him in a relationship with Him. Matthew 24:13 says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” It is not how you start, but it is how you finish. You must endure, encouraging yourself and your brothers and sisters to continue pressing towards God in faith, knowing that there is a trophy at the end for us who refuse to quit!
When Jesus walked this planet, He entered into His ministry at the age of 30 because that was the primary age to enter the priesthood in the Jewish culture. He was a Rabbi, a student of God’s Word, and most Rabbis would spend their time training the future generation of teachers. What made Jesus so awesome was that He did not take the most educated and intelligent teenagers to make up His crew of disciples. He chose the B team. In the Jewish culture, by the age of five, they could quote the Torah, which is the first 5 books of the Bible. Pastors barely can quote verses, let alone entire books! If they could not quote and understand thoroughly the scriptures, then they would choose a more meaningless and lowly profession, such as fishing. Instead of choosing the most talented, God chose the “B” Team, people who are not prideful, yet have potential to do something great in His eyes. When God chose Saul to be the first king over Israel, he said, “Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?” (1 Samuel 9:21). After Saul fell into great sin, David was chosen to be Saul’s replacement. The prophet Samuel had told Jesse that one of his sons was to be the next king, and when Jesse brought all of his sons to present before Samuel, he had all of them but one, David, because he was the youngest and just a little shepherd boy. The first one that was presented was Eliab, a man of war, and Samuel had thought within himself, “Surely this is the man.” But that is when God responded, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). That is why David was chosen because though he was not perfect, he was a man after God’s own heart! God also chose a man like Gideon to be judge over Israel, and his response was, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15). Yet, Gideon would lead an army of 300 to defeat an army of 135,000 Midianites. It does not matter what you have, but whose you are. What counts is that you love God with everything inside of you, which is the greatest commandment, and that you display that love to others in need!
In God’s eyes, character goes far beyond talent and gifts. Your abilities can only take you as far as your character and integrity will allow it to go! So many today transform their gifts into idols. In other words, they commit idolatry through using their talents to glorify themselves rather than God. God gives them the opportunities and abilities, and they give all of the credit to themselves, but pride always falls before destruction! Once you get the mindset that everything you do is for the glory of God and to demonstrate the importance of being a Christian, rather that is through sports, academics or relationships, then God can be magnified through your life.