By: Dr. Michael Gardner
Last Sunday afternoon the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss to Pittsburg brought to an end their 5-0 record. It left them 5-1, but still leading the NFL. You can’t win them all, but that doesn’t keep fans like me from being disappointed. The fourth quarter showed glimmers of hope as they seemed to reconnect with the magic, the “playing in synch” with one another, that had helped them rescue similar games this season. Now we’ll see how they respond to a loss.
No one wins them all, or all the time. And the truth is, times of challenge and loss help teams discover who we are and who we want to be. Sometimes, teams, organizations, political parties, and the rest of us slip into blaming one another, or the rule keepers or referees, or tearing down our opponents. And truth be told, that is what is happening off the football field in our nation. However, that negative response is not the only one possible. Team, groups and our nation’s citizens all must choose whether to pursue the paths that will lead to future victories or the paths that will ensure disappointment.
And we all are human, at least I am. So, when my Kansas State Wildcats lost to TCU on Saturday, and the Chiefs lost on Saturday, and my candidates lost at the polls (which has happened often in my lifetime) my first response has never been pretty. But after prayer and reflection, I am choosing to say something different. I am choosing to say, “Now, we’ll see what we are made of.” I am praying for positive outcomes. I am praying that none of the groups I am proud to support – my teams – my state – my nation – my Church – choose the negative path that always leads to destruction. I am praying that every challenge that comes, including these recent losses, will help us see what we’re made of. If we use the best we have and apply our gifts and abilities in a positive way, I still believe the outcomes can be outstanding!
Ephesians 4:12-13 says this, “Christ raised up the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up and reach unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.” Christ intended all his people to do the work of ministry together, all seeking a common goal. That’s what builds up the Church and unity of faith. That’s what accomplishes great things for God.
I’ll be preaching from that text on Sunday, and lifting up a vision for Old Mission, my “I have a Dream” message for our Church. My sermon is “Fulfilling Jesus’ Calling” from Ephesians 4:11-16. Join us for worship this Sunday on Shawnee Mission Parkway at Old Mission at any of our three worship hours, 8:30, 9:45 or 11:00 am. Nothing is more beautiful than Old Mission in the Fall!
If you would like to revisit a past "Beyond Believing" article, please refer to the archive.