Monday, September 5, 2016
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Years ago, when my son-in-law lived in the Chicago area, he was in his "heyday" because it was the "heyday" of the Chicago Bulls. That was hard for me, being in the New York area as a New York Knicks fan. But, listen! Back then the Bulls had one of the most amazing teams in basketball history. Actually, I think my son-in-law had to go into a recovery program for Bulls addicts back then. But he reminds me of the Bulls' greatness regularly. In the days when they were building their basketball juggernaut, I was told the players would get in a circle and one of them would ask, "What time is it?" And they'd answer louder every time they asked the question, "It's game time!" They seemed to know what time it was almost every time they got on the court. In fact, Bulls fans told me back then that the players weren't really that close off the court. Reportedly, it was pretty quiet when they were traveling, didn't even talk to each other much. When it's wasn't game time they didn't get together off the court. But, when it was game time, the differences didn't matter, they had a job to do. They were a team!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The 'Game Time' Difference."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:1-3 "...live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
If you know Christ, welcome to Team Jesus. Yep, you're on God's team. And I'll bet there are some people on that team that aren't your favorite kind of people. Am I right? Are you thinking of somebody? You clash with their personality. Maybe they aggravate you, they're not your type, or they see things differently than you do. God knows that. In fact, it seems He plans it so we can grow from being around people who aren't like us.
But He makes it clear how you are supposed to relate to your teammates. "Be completely humble." In other words, be thinking about what will be good for them, not just what's going to be good for you. Put your self-interest behind their interests. Then He says, "Be gentle." Now, that's God's command regarding how you are to treat your teammates-as if they're fragile, they're breakable. Then it says, "Bear with one another in love." It doesn't say "be a bear with one another." Now, don't get that wrong. "Bear with one another." Overlooking slights, overlooking frustrations, love covering a multitude of sins. See, un-love keeps a record of every sin, every offence, and every frustration.
Then God says work real hard to keep the unity that is the natural condition of those in whom God's Holy Spirit lives. He says here to keep the unity. It doesn't say to go after it trying to get it. You already have it, you just ruin it if you don't do the bond of peace. That's why He doesn't say, "Get unified" He says, "Stay together." Together is what you really are in Christ and really will be forever in eternity.
So don't lose that unity; do whatever will contribute to peace between you and your teammates whatever will contribute to peace. Because, as the Chicago Bulls said in their "heyday", "It's game time!" They knew that their mission was too important to be at the mercy of the differences between them. They play together whether or not they liked or appreciated every teammate. And they were champions as a result.
Our mission is infinitely, eternally more important. It is the work of God on earth. And His work is too important to be at the mercy of your moods, your differences, your self-pity, your attitude, or your gripes. I have no right to carry my negative baggage onto the court where we are playing for eternal stakes and neither do you. We have to win this one for Jesus! Our differences don't matter now. It's game time!