Wednesday, September 26, 2018
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As a longtime New York Giants football fan, it's hard for me to tell a story where a Dallas Cowboys player is the hero, but this one I couldn't resist. Charles Lowery tells the story of a visit by then Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman to visit this young patient's ward in a children's cancer hospital. T. J. was one of those patients, a young boy who was dying of cancer. After visiting with him, Troy promised that he would score a touchdown in that boy's honor. As he was leaving, T. J.'s Mom took the quarterback aside and told him that the boy didn't have long to live. Well, the promise stood. The following week was the Cowboys' first preseason exhibition game, and they didn't even play Troy that week. But T. J., of course, was glued to that whole game hopefully.
The next week the Cowboys played in Mexico City, putting starters like Troy Aikman in for only the first quarter. The Cowboys had driven to their opponents' 20-yard line where Troy dropped back to launch a pass-only to tuck the football and, much to everyone's surprise, run the ball in for a touchdown-and then to be tackled in the end zone by these two monster defenders. Well, some Dallas sports writers were all over Aikman because he did what he's not supposed to do as a quarterback. He risked injury like that in what they called a meaningless game. They should have talked to T. J.'s Mom. She said, "Troy knew it wasn't a meaningless game; not when he was playing for someone who was dying."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Meaningless Games."
You know, it really is true. There is no such thing as a meaningless anything when you do it for someone who's dying, which in terms of God and eternity, many of the people all around us are doing. The Bible clearly says that anyone who "does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:12) and that they are "without God and without hope in this world" (Ephesians 2:12). That includes anyone in your personal world who has not had their sins forgiven by faith in the Christ who died for them: coworkers, neighbors of yours, fellow students, teammates, family members, people at the club.
But Jesus has placed you where you are, right next to those folks, so they could have a chance at Him, a chance at heaven. And He's depending on you to tell them-to play your position each day as if you were playing for someone who's dying. You are. The Biblical story of Esther is, in a way, the story of everyone who belongs to Christ. She is the Jewish girl who, by God's design, became the Queen of Persia with no one knowing she was a Jew. Then, through the treachery of an anti-Semitic aide to the king, a decree was issued that mandated the death of every one of her people.
For Esther to appeal to the king would mean the very real risk of her own life. But her Godly cousin gives her this haunting challenge, "Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" That's Esther 4:14, and it's our word for today from the Word of God. And she realizes she is in that position to save dying people, and she risks everything to rescue them.
Now, something very exciting, very enlarging happens to your life when you realize that what you do every day doesn't have to be "everyday stuff." It's relationships and opportunities to point someone where you are to life in Christ. So nothing you do is meaningless, not when you do it to help someone who's spiritually dying. And the life of a church or a ministry is suddenly electrified when the leaders and the members there decide to do what they do, not just to make themselves comfortable and blessed, but to rescue the dying people all around them in their community. It changes everything.
There's a lot at stake in the way you live your life at work, at school, where you live, in front of your friends or associates. There's a lot at stake in whether you are a silent follower of Christ or one who breaks your silence to tell them about the Jesus who is their only hope. This is life-or-death. And it means that the way you play really, really matters.