One of the Crowd

By John Ballinger

April 27, 2015

Have you ever been to a sporting event and looked around at the different kinds of people in the crowd? Some of the crowds I have watched on TV are made up of an interesting bunch of people. Take, for instance, two of the biggest sports in the country: wrestling and NASCAR. In the crowds of these two sports, we see a wide range of people with fans coming from a whole list of occupations and economic levels. It is nothing to see a 30-something fashion plate cheering next to a 70-year-old down-home-dressed granny. These are people who would not recognize each other on the street and yet for a brief time they share a passion.

 

What brings them together is not their economic standing or their fashion sense but a passion for their sport. They are there on game day or race day to cheer together for an athlete they appreciate. They will wear team colors and replica shirts of their weekend heroes. Don’t cross these people and tell them it is silly what they are doing. They take their sports very serious.

 

We have all been there. We love being with a group in which we feel we are part of something special. It doesn’t have to be a sporting event; it can be a political rally or gathering of any other organization. The key element is there is one “theme” that holds them together and causes them to get excited. Those gathered will yell and cheer and get totally lost in the moment. Their passion carries on after the event as they quote statistics and analyze what happened to their team or favorite athlete. For some people, it consumes their lives and they begin to define who they are by how well their team does.

 

There is another group who gathers each week with like-minded people. On occasion, there may be some upbeat music and handclapping, but for the most part, it is pretty quiet compared to a sporting event or political rally—but like most groups, the people come together under a common theme.

 

By now, you’ve probably guessed I am referring to the church. It is in God’s house where people come each week from all levels of society. They come from the well-to-do to the poorest of poor but they come for one reason: to worship their Savior—or at least that is why we are supposed to gather. For some, the reasons for being in church have nothing to do with worship but more to do with being a part of a performance or being a part of the power structure of the church.

 

Why do you come to church? That is a question that seems pretty simple and yet can you really answer it simply and honestly? Do you come to thank your God for his many blessings or is there another, more worldly reason why you are in that pew? Do you consider church a place of worship and praise to God—or a place of socializing? Is it a place for finding peace and sanctuary—or a place for being the “important” person the world won’t let you be? Why are you in church? What difference is it making in your life—or is it making a difference in your life at all?

 

Another question to ponder is not why you come to church but how do you leave each worship service? Do you leave church feeling like you have been touched by God’s love and surrounded by God’s people? Do you leave with a new attitude toward life and the mission God is calling you to fulfill? Do you leave with a new compassion for the people around you who have yet to find a relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you leave with a sense of mission to reach out to the world beyond your comfort zone? Do you leave church feeling like you are part of a crowd who cares and can make a difference in the world?

 

My prayer is that you find God in your place of worship. I pray you will know his love in the people next to you in the pew. I pray that when you exit from your time of worship you feel you are part of a movement that is making a real difference in the world. You probably won’t come out of worship with a souvenir t-shirt—but I do pray you come out with a sense of purpose and the knowledge that you are not on God’s mission alone. I pray that those you worshiped with will come alongside you this week and work together in the common cause of growing the kingdom of God.

 

My prayer is that you will always be the number one fan of the One who created you and saved you from a life of sin. Be one of God’s team as you cheer “Go God!”

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