Years ago, I got to visit the original “Boston Garden.” It was set to be demolished and people were paying to own pieces of the famous parquet basketball floor. But I loved the opportunity to tour the locker room.
As a sports nut, I am fascinated by the function of the locker room—the comradery of the players and the cohesiveness of the team. Although individual players do receive accolades for their skills and accomplishments, they need each other to succeed, and they know it. The good ones go out of their way to encourage and support their teammates, no matter the previous score or performance.
For a moment, imagine what it would be like if our church body was a sports team of some kind. All of us would gather regularly in the “locker room.” No doubt we’d have some very gifted players among us. But it wouldn’t matter to the team. We’d watch the coach lay out strategies and plans. In doing so, a new dynamic begins to unfold.
Believers are moving around, lightheartedly laughing about blunders from the previous week. No one is hanging their head. The coach already led them to correct their mistake in practice. Now, it’s just time to encourage each other.
No one is harping on the goofs. Everyone is reminding each other of their strengths, remembering their wins, focusing on their improvement. And the guy or gal that just came out of the biggest slump is the loudest encourager.
That would be so cool. I want on that team! But all too often, the Christian “locker room” doesn’t perform that way at all. We might be loosely affiliated with some other believers, but we are not engaged enough to genuinely care about everyone else’s performance. We are too busy “competing” and measuring our success by their failures.
Paul said that those who are “spiritual” ought to restore the others. To be “spiritual” isn’t a rank or standing in God’s army. It just means that the ones who are following hard after Christ, listening to the Spirit, and doing their best to conform to His Word, ought to help those around them who are struggling.
Two thoughts for this week. One, we can’t help if we don’t know there is a need. So, let’s be a transparent “team” that isn’t afraid to reveal a weakness and ask for help. And two, we can’t help if we are drowning ourselves. We need to diligently care for our own walk lest we be tempted to sin as well.
I like the idea of a new sign on the church building: “Coast Hills Locker Room.”