Have you ever been to an American football game? Men with painted chests, seas of colored jerseys, copious amounts of nacho cheese dip. These are some of the marks of high holy season in the American football institution.
I have to admit that I am a fan of the Green Bay Packers and a devoted watcher of their weekly games (may their 2016 playoff season rest in peace). My father lived in Green Bay when he was a kid, and so when I was growing up, there was no other option: if we were to watch football with him, we had better cheer them on too.
Honestly, my father is the one and only personal connection I have to the Green Bay Packers. Without him, I doubt that I would care. And although this is a humorous example, it actually exemplifies the kind of “fatherly influence” God should have on us.
Jesus, who was the ultimate example of what it means to be a child of God, modeled what it looks like to be a big fan of the things that our Heavenly Father cares about. If we are to do life with God, it means cheering on redemption.
And that’s actually a thrilling way to live. Here are four reasons to be an enthusiastic fan of God’s redemptive mission in the world:
1. God’s Ultimate Game Plan for Defeating Sin, Death, and Satan
The overarching story of the world and its purpose is found in God’s strategic game plan to:
Redeem all of creation,
Defeat sin, death, and Satan through the work of Christ, and
Bring glory to Christ’s name.
When we participate in the missionary work of God, we are actually taking part in the flow of history and its future destination! Think about it: the trajectory of all human history is leading towards the victorious glorification of God the Father through his Son, by people of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Any and all of our mission efforts—from praying, to giving, to going—contribute towards God’s grand, ultimate goal for the redemption of creation. It’s the one game where we already know the final score: God wins.
2. God’s Passion for People
Scripture is in essence one long story about how God interacts with and invites people to join his team in fulfilling his redemptive purposes on earth. In fact, were it not for faithful human authors taking the time to write at the urging of the Spirit, we would not even have scripture!
While it must be acknowledged that God is perfectly capable of fulfilling his purposes without our help, he somehow gains far greater glory when we get off the bench and participate in his mission with him. The God of the Universe desires to coach us as we join in his glorious, redemptive plans among the nations!
3. No One Is Asked to Ride the Bench
Jesus’s mission included calling sinners to repentance, reaching the lost, and making God known to others. He also healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, and preached good news to the poor. The rather incredible thing about all of this is that in doing so, Jesus set for us the normative pattern of what it looks like to be his disciple.
To use a football analogy, in God’s Kingdom, even the waterboy gets to play in the Super Bowl.
Yup, we all are invited to play a vital part in God’s Kingdom! Whether you’re a missionary, a barista, banker, or zookeeper, this is part of what Jesus meant when he said, “Come! Follow me!” Because when we follow Jesus, we are invited to participate in the very heart of God, which longs to reach the lost and broken people in our world.
4. Jesus Is the Only Way to Lasting Victory
Jesus Christ is the only means to having ultimate victory over sin and its many manifestations in this world. He is the only means of living a joyous, hopeful, abundant life.
To truly bring joy, peace, hope, and lasting change to the world at large, making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must be central to our vision.
So what does that mean for us? It means that whether we’re managing a small business in Kansas City or serving the poor in Cairo—as part of God’s team to “go and make disciples”—we are not just seeking godly transformation for one individual; we open doors for Christ-centered transformation among families, businesses, communities, cultures, and nations.
And one more thing. Being a fan means that you always have hope: maybe thisyear, we’ll win the Super Bowl. Maybe this year, the quarterback will have an epic season and break records. Thanks to my dad, I hope every season that the Packers will emerge as victorious champions of the league.
As fans of God’s Kingdom and his redemptive purposes in the world, we are always to hope that maybe, this day, this week, this hour, we will see transformation, reformation, and victory.
Are you a fan?
Set some time aside this week to listen to God’s heart for mission. Which of these four reasons to be a fan resonated with you? Which ones do you need to explore more with God?
What “position” is God asking you to play? Prayer? Evangelism? Service? Support? What does it mean to faithfully fill that role?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Rosenberry has been on staff with CRM since 2007, and recently completed an internship with InnerCHANGE in San Francisco.