Through the years I’ve known a number of minor league professional hockey players. Some of them were more skilled than others. Some were smarter than others. A few were even stars in minor league circles. But none of them made it to the National Hockey League, the major league of professional hockey.
What’s the difference between minor league and major league? Each said the same thing, “Consistency.” The guys who play at the major league level are able to play at very high levels every single day. The minor leaguers confess that they’re able to play at major league levels only on occasion. They simply lack the ability to play at a high enough level every day. The result is they play for hundreds of dollars while their major league counterparts play for millions. They ride in buses while their major league counterparts fly in private or chartered jets. They get a few bucks to eat on each day while the major leaguers get hundreds. It’s an enormous difference.
Did you know that the same thing is true in the church? Maybe you never stopped to consider the difference between being strong and devoted – to being weak and indifferent.
Generalizations are often incorrect, but allow me a few of them for the sake of provoking thoughtful consideration of living a more righteous life – a more consistently righteous life.
Not all weak Christians are weak all the time. They’re just weak most of the time. They neglect to do what they should much of the time. Sometimes they’re strong. Sometimes they’re devoted. They simply are unable to make up their mind (yes, it’s a choice they make – it is not God’s fault, it’s not the Church’s fault) to be strong every single day. Spiritual strength is only momentary for them.
Certainly some weak Christians are weak all the time. They’re barely hanging on to any connection to the Lord’s Church. They attend worship only on Lord’s Day mornings, and think nothing of forsaking that every now and then. We can only assume their private lives are just as inconsistent. Their devotion is lackluster. They never experience spiritual strength.
Unlike hockey, which relies on physical skills and a brain trained to play the game at a high level, living the Christian life is really about choice. Typically, weak Christians have simply not yet made up their mind that they’ll live for the Lord every single day. Some days they will, but just not every day. They’re like the minor league hockey players who just can’t seem to perform at a high enough level consistently. Except, their failure is by choice!
Every accountable person can live faithfully for the Lord. There are no exceptions. That means, there is no excuse! It requires choice and determination. The Bible calls it repentance – changing your mind, and changing your life. Luke 13:3 gives us two distinct options: repent or perish. We get to decide which one it will be.
Examine any congregation of the Lord’s Church and you’ll see a core group who are determined to faithfully serve. They’re present at every worship service. They do all the visiting. They conduct all the worship services. They take care of the things that are vital for the ongoing work of the local church. They serve week in, week out. They are dependable. The congregation could not function properly without them. In that 80/20 rule, they’re the 20% providing the 80% of the work done.
What makes them special? Why are they the ones who do most of the work? Is there something special about them? Do they possess some superhuman qualities unavailable to the rest of us?
No. They are people who have made up their minds that righteousness is going to be the rule of their life. They are determined to put God first in everything. It’s a choice every person can make. Every accountable person is capable of being a major league Christian, performing obedient service toward God consistently. Some simply choose to remain in the minor leagues, rising only occasionally to major league levels. For whatever reason they find it more conducive to live the way they want. Major league Christianity (is there really any other kind?) demands too much sacrifice for them. The price is too high in this life. Sadly, eternity demands an even higher price.