Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Into The Arena!

I write today with a bit of a heavy heart.  Have you ever had God get into your business and expose you for what you are?  Well He is a loving God and so He refuses to let me stay the same.  He is always challenging me to be better.  To live what I say.  He speaks to me in pictures and parables.  This week He showed me an allegory using my job.  I am a personal trainer and a public speaker.  So people pay me to tell them what to do.  If you hire a house-keeper then he/she is paid to clean your mess for you.  If you hire a lawn service then they are paid to cut the grass and pull the weeds for you.  If you hire me, you pay me to tell you how to work your butt off!!!!  I stand and talk while you do the hard work and sweat.  It’s the same thing when I speak.  I come in and tell people how they can change their lives by applying scripture, life-skills, habits, etc.  If you have not read my last blog “Challenged to Blast My Comfort Zone“ stop right now and go read it. . .now that you’re up to speed think about what happened that day. . .I told people who are already fighting in the arena how they can go and fight better.  Only I am not in that arena myself.  My thoughts went to the “Hunger Games” series (yes I admit to being a fan!).  Katniss and the Districts are sent into a bloody arena to fight to the death while the people of the Capitol cheer them on.  I want to look at myself and think that I am Katniss Everdeen the “Girl on Fire”. . .but really I am just Effie Trinkett the quirky capitol  lady who is a stickler for “manners”.  The one who tells her tributes how to fight the battle but does not engage in the battle herself.  As much as I hate to admit that I am a member of the Capitol I have to wonder if many in the Church are just members of the Capitol as well?  We sit each Sunday and listen to the Pastor tell us how we can be more Christ like.  We minister to each other and talk about how “hard” it is now that we have one car in the shop and will have to make due with only one this week!  “Well, I will pray for you in your trial brother! Now let’s all go out and have a big Sunday dinner at a nice restaurant”. . .
I wonder what it would look like if we all left the training center (Church) each week with the purpose of entering into that bloody arena filled with hurting people?  I think we might end up bloody, messy, and tired ourselves. . .but we are called to be the body of Christ and His body was bloody and broken.  What if we could be willing to roll up our sleeves and enter into that battle?  What if we took the words our Pastors speak to us every week and applied them?  I think the Church is meant to be a sort of training ground for battle, not a Sunday morning fellowship brunch. 
I am glad to say that fire is catching in the Texas Panhandle.  I am seeing people from all churches, outreaches and businesses preparing to engage in battle.  I leave you with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, perhaps it will help you decide if you want to sit on the side lines or enter the arena.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt