Saturday, May 28, 2016


Being from the NE corner of Missouri and then later West-central Illinois, I very much indeed understand one of the greatest rivalries in baseball; that of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  I'm unique, being from that area, in that I like both teams a lot---the Cardinals first and the Cubs second.

It's a joke world-wide that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in so long that Halley's Comet has passed twice.  In 1969 the team had the standings sewn up only to crater in the last few days.  This year the team is surely on a power move.  Their victories are so many that the are perched upon the top of their division with a sizable lead with no signs of doing anything but pulling further from the pack.

But there is a strong challenge that lies in front of these Cubbies.  It's called endurance.  I'm not saying they can't make it for some team obviously will.  This might be their year.  If so I will celebrate...sorta.  Yet, the road ahead is filled with significant questions.  Will they avoid significant injuries?  Will the pitching arms fatigue?  Will the September heat become a factor?  And, what will happen if the team hits a losing streak along the way?  When this happens, will they endure or will they tank?  All of these questions will be answered and, when they are, the results will be clear.

This is the challenge of the church; endurance.  It's one thing to start off a new (season) of faith where everyone is happy, ministries cooperate, the contributions are strong, and attendance is on the increase.  It is quite another matter when hopes and dreams take a hit; when disappointment or disgust begin to be the rule of the day.

Believing God carries a hefty call to endure the hard stuff; the very difficult days.  Just as there are fly-by-night fans of baseball, the same disposition resides in the church. The challenge is, the question is, whether one will endure.  In baseball, opposition is called competition.  In the church it's called the Cross.  Both will face threat head-on.

To be clear, I am not prophesying that the Cubs will fold.  I am saying that if they are to win, and they very likely might, it will not be due to the team as it stands at the moment.  Rather it will be the result of a team that overcomes; bouncing back from injury, fatigue, and frustration over the long-haul.  Interference will happen.  Skill-set is one thing. Handling loss is quite another.  Both are significant factors in the game of life.

It is said of Jesus that he endured the cross despising the shame.  That's where our victories are experienced.  They are not about our talent only; but are very much about our determination to never give up regardless of insult or injury.  The Phillies of 1980 marched to victory because their motto of We believe! was a call to take the good with the bad by never doubting; never giving up.

Endurance will always be the challenge for the Church and the...Chicago Cubs.

No comments: