Getting Your Number CalledGeorge Shamblin
A friend of mine “volunteered” to coach his daughter’s sixth-grade soccer team. To miss the initial parent/player meeting lends itself to being nominated “coach,” in which case the election naturally goes unopposed and the votes unanimous.
After the regular season, the girls qualified for a quarter-final matchup. During which time a slew of nearby games had just ended, allowing all the other kids to fill the bleachers. As the dad paced the sidelines looking for subs, each girl quickly became fixated on her cleats, avoiding eye contact lest her number be called. Not so with Caroline. Her eyes locked square with his, as if to say “come on coach, just put me in.” My friend explained how the other girls had practiced, prepared, and earned playing time on the 1st and 2nd strings. But under the spotlight, a horror in and of itself during those awkward teenage years, Caroline didn’t care. For her, what she wanted was to participate, for her number to be called.
A strikingly similar scenario is playing out right before us at this critical juncture in time. Disciples of Jesus have tirelessly readied ourselves to engage the culture in spiritual matters for decades. To interject truth from God’s word into everyday conversation would be our dream come true: “you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:7)
For the first time in my lifetime, the culture at large is willing to lend its ear to hear a good word from Christ. They’re receptive to being evangelized. In fact, if you could peel back the English word “Gospel” in your Bible, you’ll find a Greek word underneath, evangelion, from which we get evangelism. As in Romans 10:14-15: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News (evangelion) of Good Things!'” And yet, if you were to peruse the open field before us underneath the watching world’s spotlight, most of what you’ll find is a bunch of cleat-watchers, or holy huddles filling the sidelines not uttering a word.
Talking endlessly about politics however has become an entirely different matter. The only occasion where seasoned Christians can be observed storming the field is conversing over the upcoming election. In which case nobody seems to hesitate for a single second for their number, or mouth, to be called. Rather, forcefully interjecting oneself into the thick of even the most heated conversations, excluding speaking words of life. With pastors leading the charge no less! What in the world are we thinking?
To be a good citizen of the USA is noble and right. But according to the Apostle Paul, it should never supersede our ultimate citizenship: “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:12-13; 18-19)
In no way am I suggesting you refrain from addressing the issues of the day. That’s not feasible. Only temper your political views with Biblical truths that will remain long after the Democrat and Republican parties have faded away.
To make this practical, and press believers towards balance here’s a challenge: for every political statement that comes out of your mouth today, simply match it with an equally spiritual statement. 1 for 1. When your number is called, strive to insert your views of Christ and His hope into your discussions above everything else, as the Bible instructs us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” (Titus 2:11-13)
Lastly, we would all do well to allow Janet Denison’s quote to linger: “Will we have earned the right to share our faith next year with the people we have shared our political opinions with this October?”