Jan 29, 2019

Man or Fan in the Arena

 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin, which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.                                                                                                                                             ~Hebrews 12:1
Super Bowl Fifty-Three is one week away and fans from around the world will tune in to watch the ultimate exhibition of “America’s Game” between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.  The average viewership of Super Bowl Fifty-Two was a whopping 112.3 million on NBC, making it the tenth-most watched program in U.S. television history.
            Whether you’re a fan of either team doesn’t matter, most people will be a fan for one or the other at kick off. With an organization named the Men in the Arena, I think about this grand word picture an obsessive amount.
            Olympic Great, Michael Phelps said, “It doesn't matter what else is going on. When you walk into your arena, you're there to take care of the job that you have to do.” Fans have a job to do, albeit different than those actually in the game. Here are some thoughts about fans.
            Fans are in the stadium, but not in the arena.

            Fans live vicariously through those on the arena.
            Fans are active critics, but passive participants.
            Fans are close to the danger, but far enough away to stay safe.
            Fans fly the right colors, but don’t wear the real uniform.
            Fans haven’t paid the sweat equity of those in the arena.
            Fans haven’t made preparations to survive in the arena if need be.
            Fans haven’t made the necessary sacrifices required for the arena.
            Fans are anonymous to those in the arena.
            Fans love to watch, but are unwilling or unable to act.
            But there some flaws in our word picture and how it impacts us as men. First, there are a myriad of men watching a sports event whether in the actual stadium or from a television set somewhere. Being a fan of sports does not make one less of a man.  Second, in the Body of Christ—the Church—every Christian is a called to minister. Thus, every minister should have a ministry. In other words, every man (and woman) is a minister by Biblical mandate. The Church should be filled with more men in the arena than fans in the bleachers.
            Oh, how we long for this to be the reality in our churches today! But sadly there are more fans in the arena, which leads me to a question. Which one are you? Are you a man in the arena or a fan in the arena? In your church do people know your name or are you anonymous? Are you a giver or taker? Are you a servant or a consumer? If you’re an anonymous consumer in the church, then today is the day to get out of the bleachers and into the challenges of the game. You’ve got this!