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Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

Today, I had the opportunity to go and support some friends of ours at some sporting events. We saw portions of final games of the regular season of flag football and basketball. It’s easy for us to say “I don’t have a kid the game, I’m awfully busy” and pass on events like these. I think it’s important, though, to show support, to root on our friends and children of the congregation. It’s important to be encouragers even when – perhaps especially when – it is not required nor expected. It’s being there because you want to, not because you have to. That means a lot. I know it does for me when people show up to support my children in their various activities.

As I was watching these games from the sidelines, a few things stood out to me as easy applications to our spiritual walk.

These are team sports. While there were certain players on the teams with greater skills, it wasn’t just about them. In both games, these players came together to work together as one unit. Isn’t that what we do as Christians? We come as individuals and are put together by the Lord to form the body of Christ. As the body of Christ, we work together towards the goal of heaven and of sharing that hope with as many as we can.

They worked together according to a plan. When the teams were sent out on the field or the court, they were sent out with a plan. They had worked and drilled and they knew what their plan of action was going to be. The teams that held to that plan showed themselves to be better organized and more confident in what they were doing. They weren’t always successful in their efforts, but they all knew what the plan was and as a result they were able to worked as a single unit. The Bible gives us the plan. Somethings are specific, such as the need for and the way to salvation, how to worship and how to conduct ourselves in our lives. Other things are left to the prayerful consideration of the leadership of the individual congregations. We know we need to evangelize. We know we need to be benevolent and hospitable. We know we need to be reaching out and lighting our lights shine before men. How do we go about doing that? When a congregation’s leadership has a solid plan in place, when the members understand that plan and can get behind it, the benefits and the results are seen. If we all go about doing our own thing, fighting amongst ourselves about what we should be doing, nothing gets done. Even worse, what we are showing the world is not the light of Christ at all.

They helped each other. In both games, this was evident. Players got open, they assisted one another, and they were aware of what the need was. By the same token, there were also times when this did not happen. When a player is dribbling the basketball and gets surrounded by the opposing team, what happens when his teammates are nowhere to be found? What happens when the quarterback is looking to throw a pass and nobody moves to get open? In both instances, the other team gets the ball.

The verse I chose for this devotional is 3 John 1:8. Here the apostle is writing to a man named Gaius. Gaius was an elder in the church, and in context, had supported several brethren who were traveling through the area. John commends him saying “Yes! This is what we should be doing! We need to be supporting each other. When we do so, we are showing ourselves to be fellow workers.” As a Christian, I struggle sometimes. Sometimes it’s with stress, sometimes it’s with feeling overwhelmed, sometimes it’s with physical difficulties. Sometimes those struggles have to do with a specific ministry that I am involved in. I cannot do it alone. So I reach out for help. When my brothers and sisters in Christ are there and able to help, that burden is lifted and I can continue on. If that doesn’t happen, I continue to struggle and sometimes have to drop my endeavors. This tells me two things: 1) We have to be there to help our fellow Christians. We need to be fellow workers supporting and encouraging one another. 2) We have to be willing to reach out in our need.