Sink or swim?
I would like to begin with a topic that is very important for many people in our country today. An industry so important, that some plan their lives around its schedule. That thing is the NFL. A story I recently heard relates to this. Apparently, a life-long fan of the Cleveland Browns made a final request in his will. His request was that upon his death, the team owners would enlist six players from the Browns team to act as his pallbearers at his funeral. He closed his request with these words, “I’m requesting this so that my beloved team could let me down one last time.”
Now, I’ve been a pastor for about ten years. I’m not the greatest pastor in the world, but certainly not the worst. As a pastor I have the great privilege of meeting people who seem to me to be just surviving life. They would describe life as an abuser. Their relationship to life is one of abuser to victim. They are dealing with some really hard things. But I also know people who are also dealing with some horrific things, and they are not just surviving but are thriving. They are not living like victims they are living like conquerors. So today we ask, “What’s the difference?”
Now, I’m not going to address the worlds of philosophy, psychology, phrenology or any other –ology other than theology to answer this question (I’m a pastor after all, what else do I know)? Why do some people live above what seems to pull other people under? What’s the key to their confidence? It’s like swimming in the deep-end of a pool. We all can swim, we are all experiencing the same water currents but some get pulled under and some joyfully tread water. What’s the key to their confidence?
I submit the key is in four little words found in the eight chapter of the book of Romans. The words are these, “God is for us.” Jesus was given up for us, he was lifted up on a cross for us, he was raised up from the dead for us, and Paul writes, Christ who died and was raised to new life is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us.”
That is true today, and it is true for the rest of your life. Jesus speaks up for us. He didn’t go to heaven to retire, he went to heaven to represent…to represent us, the only one who has the right to condemn is instead our defense attorney. And because of our faith in Him, he declares us righteous before the father…whether we are sinking or skillfully sailing the stormy seas.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t add a little prayer for those unfortunate souls who feel like employing six players from the Detroit Lions…to let you down one more time. My prayer is this. They can’t be horrible forever, right? Amen.