And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. –Romans 15:29, 30 (KJV)
When I was in Jr. High School, football jerseys in the school colors and bearing the school’s name were made available for the students. These could be purchased and worn to show our school spirit and support of the team. I acquired a shirt to show my support, but I didn’t play sports. I was friends with a student who was a tremendous athlete and excelled in sports, especially football. The previous year he and his family had moved about an hour away and I had not seen him since. That summer they were in town for a visit and they stopped by the old neighborhood to say hello. It so happened that the day they came to visit I was wearing the school football jersey. My friend was immediately interested when he saw me and asked, “Dan, are you on the team?” “No,” I replied, “I just like wearing the shirt.”
All these years later that sticks in my memory. I recall how sheepish I felt about having to explain to my friend how that I wasn’t on the team, but I was only wearing the shirt. Even then I somehow felt that I was betraying him. He had been on the team. He was on the team at his new school. He was out there practicing every day, playing in the games, taking the hits, and being an active part of the team. And there I was, on the sidelines, simply watching those who were doing all the hard work. I began to feel that if I was going to wear that shirt that I should be on the team.
My friends, many of us bear the name of Christian. We identify ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ. But are we truly involved in serving Him? Are we truly on His team? As followers of Jesus we are called to be involved with witnessing, sharing out faith, reaching out in Jesus’ name, and taking an active part in the Christian life. Paul the Apostle urged the Roman believers to join him in the work of the gospel that they might “strive together.” Such striving together would result in stronger believers and a more united church.
Do not sit on the sidelines, but instead become actively involved in serving the Lord. Worship, serve, pray, study the Word, and witness for Jesus. We are blessed when we become a part of the ongoing work of the ministry.