Have You Made the Cut?, Pt. 2

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.”
Once you make the cut, it is not time to quit because that will never make a champion out of your life. It is only the beginning of a new season and chapter in your life. You must then discover what role or position you have on God’s team. In basketball, there are five primary positions a person can fill in, regardless of whether you are a starter or come off the bench. Either way, it is important to know whether you are a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center. Each person who fills these positions no doubt have weaknesses. I probably would not want my center bringing the ball up the floor, neither would I want my point guard trying to defend a center or power forward in the post. Usually, these things do not mix to well, and can lead to a mess! It is about capitalizing on what you are best at so that you can be the best asset you can be on the team. If you are quick, use your speed to your advantage. If you are a great ball handler, use your talent to bring the ball up the floor and create opportunities for others. If you are a great rebounder, help create second opportunities for your team offensively and less opportunities for the devil to score. Hustle after the ball no matter what. If you are a good shooter and scorer, take advantage of those opportunities when you have good looks at the basket. That does not mean you have to be a ball hog. It is not about racking up on the stat sheet, but fulfilling your role so your team can win the victory. There is no “I” in team, and it takes a team effort, doing it together, to win the trophy! Finally, you must have defense. It takes no talent to play defense, but just hard work and heart. Prayer is like your defense because it takes no talent to pray, but just hard work and effort. It is the calling no one wants, but is expected from everybody. It is something we talk a lot about but do little of, yet if we would do it, we would begin to defend our homes, schools, workplaces, churches and communities spiritually. Then, it would feed into our offense as we attack enemy held territory, meaning that we would begin to pray and see a harvest of souls saved unto the glory of God! One thing that makes defense work is being unselfish. It is having each other’s help that when your neighbor is struggling with someone, you come to their help to defend them. Selfishness will never get you a championship, but being unselfish, knowing your role and completing it, will!
We have to play offense and defense both in order to win. You cannot win if you are only playing defense but you never the put the ball in the basket. You have to score to win! We spend too much time defending our home, school, job, church, etc. that we are not spending enough time attacking the enemy’s territory. Why don’t we go to the unreached areas of this world and spread the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Ministers spend time trying to make the church comfortable in padded pew and preach to saved folk that they spend too little time reaching to those who are hurting, wounded, broken, and have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is time for us to declare war on the devil’s kingdom by expanding God’s kingdom. It is not about taking another church’s members or building a bigger church than the one down the road. We are all on the same team. We are not trying to compete with each other. There are way too many lost people for some to be focused on bagging other church’s members. We must center our attention on the lost people that we come across everyday. You may never step into a third world country, but your mission field is those whom you come in contact with on a daily basis. Realize that they have a purpose in God, and they are too valuable for them to fall victim to hell and the devil’s plans and purposes!
Just as there are many parts to the body than what you just see with the natural eye, there are many positions to fulfill on God’s team. Not everyone is called to be a pastor, singer, musician, etc., but there is a designated place for you. Never belittle your position or allow someone else to belittle you. God does not want you to be a pew warmer, but He wants to put you on the front lines of the battlefield and use you in a mighty way. Sometimes it takes time and hard work to earn a starting position, but God may want you to start in the nursing home or baking goods to give to your neighbor to share the love of God. There are many things you can do for God, but it is about maximizing on the abilities God has given you and using them for His glory alone!
Now that we are part of the team, we have to feed off of and depend upon each other. We listen to the coach’s game plan and instructions, and it us up to us to act upon it. He is the best coach in life you can have, but the coach cannot play the game for you. You must go out there and get the job done! As the scripture says, we depend upon Him because we have taken upon ourselves His name and label, as those old labels were taken off of us. One problem in the church is that people oftentimes compare themselves with others, even trying to be “cheap copies of great originals.” Today, I can go on the ball court and wear the #23 jersey, but that does not make me Michael Jordan. Even if I applied the very same principles that led him to success, which is simply a refusal to quit and a hard work ethic, I still could not obtain his success because he had his own talents and abilities that far surpass mine on a basketball level. The fact of the matter is that he should have used his talents similar to how Tim Tebow is. Sure, Tebow probably is not the best preacher, most definitely the best singer, but his talent in football has become a pulpit that announces to the world of how Jesus Christ saved his soul. Do not compete or compare yourself to others, but step into God’s destiny for your life and move forward in it, that the desires and gifts that have been instilled in you are used to further His Kingdom into the hearts of men and women throughout the world!
Not one part on this team is more significant than the other, but everyone has a purpose here. What if the whole team was point guards? Something would be missing. We cannot look down upon others because it seems less important to us. The man or woman who cleans the church when no one is watching will not receive even half of the credit as the Pastor who preaches on Sunday morning, but I know God sees and recognizes, and it blesses Him when someone is fulfilling their purpose. It is not about comparing yourself, but doing what God has called you to do to the best of your ability by His marvelous grace.
Have you ever just started walking in a room and you hit your pinky toe on like a dresser? The pain is like throbbing and you immediately grab the foot. It effects the entire body, causing a limp. It is amazing how something so small can get in so much pain in such a short amount of time, but that stuff happens. On this team, when a player is effected, the whole team is effected. If a player is injured, we are all to help them out and encourage them. If a teammate breaks an ankle, the other teammates do not go to the guy and try to break his arm. Instead, they help them out, waiting for them to heal up so they can get back on the floor. Oftentimes, when a person gets wounded in the church, we let them sit aside, or even try to bury them further down, saying, “See, I told you they would quit.” We are to have each other’s back, helping them in the faith. We should encourage and strengthen till the team is made whole again. If they refuse to come back in the fold, then, just as in the case of Saul, God will find a replacement in a man like David. We cannot let jealousy, pride and sin get into the camp, but we must stay prayed up and help each other along the way.
You want to know what makes you better as an individual and as a team? Practice. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” You have certain weaknesses in your life, but practicing upon those weakness will eventually make them strong. Practice those spiritual disciplines by praying and studying God’s Word. Take in spiritual nutrition by fellowshipping with God and God’s people. Do not just take a preacher’s word for it and hold it as absolute truth, but study His Word yourself to show yourself approved. Not everyone goes to the practice like they do the game, but your hard work at practice will show itself at game time. People may not applaud you at practice, but it will make you a better Christian in the long run. Regardless of how good you are at a sport, you will make mistakes, but you cannot let those few mistakes weaken your mentality to where it determines a loss for your life. Instead, you must get back up and get in the game.
The last thing you need to do is keep practicing. What you do in secret will be rewarded openly! Will you be a stand out and a leader to those around you, or will you be easily influenced and a follower into whatever everyone else is doing? Some of you guys have made the cut, but quitting does not get you the trophy. Enduring to the end does. Some of you may have never tried God out, but I encourage you to do that today. It is not that hard to make God’s team. Talent and ability is not required, but a good heart attitude is, a willingness to die to your own carnal self and be who God called you to be. There is a position left for you to fill on this team. Are you ready to join the team? Are you ready to make the cut? Choose God as your coach and these good Christian people who possess a great deal of spiritual maturity as your teammates to surround yourself with, and it will be the best decision you ever made! Always surround yourself with better Christians, and it can help you become a better one too!