It’s no easy thing for me to say, especially as a St. Louis
Cardinals fan. But, the baseball team I’ve grown to loathe, the Chicago Cubs, know how to celebrate a win.
For 108 years, loyal fans stood by their lowly “lovable losers” and committed to an annual assurance, “there’s always next year.” And as each spring birthed renewed optimism, I began noticing signs that read, “This is the year!” or, “It’s gonna happen!”
Last fall, my baseball nightmare soon became reality. It happened. The very organization I teased and heckled for years, were now World Champions.
So it began… The celebration was on. While committing myself to a form of baseball witness protection (all sources of social media and other sports news sources turned off), I committed to having no part of seeing any sort of Cubs celebration. But after a while, I decided it was time for re-entry into the world of sports news (and world news for that matter).
Something immediately became abundantly clear, these guys knew how to celebrate a win! Random strangers hugging one another, dance and laughter (and other peculiar behavior) erupting in the streets, some reports estimated nearly 5 million people had
attended the victory parade and celebration!
It was a celebration that never seemed to end! Earlier this spring the celebration continued. The organization began distributed the coveted World Series Championship rings, a practice commonly reserved for players, coaches, front office administrators, and other team personal. But the “dreaded franchise to the north” didn’t stop there, they were passing these things out to everyone: loyal fans, former players, announcers, local restaurant owners, parking attendants, hot dog vendors, street entertainers….the list goes on and on (I may have taken some liberties to embellish my point here). But, the fact remains, this organization new how to
celebrate a win. Because my brain is wired this way, it left me to wonder, Why is it so hard for the organized church to do the same?
Why is it that the Church seems so focused on growth, new
outreach programs, attendance, etc. (all important for sure) that we overlook the wins within the church. I’m not implying we
simply rest on our laurels and good deeds. But, we’ve become prone to overlooking what God is already doing in and through us.
So what’s a win anyway? Often times, it’s events, or, stories we
perceive as little things. But in all actuality they’re really big deals: seeing our children come home excited about a memory verse they learned, watching as new believers are immersed in Christian
baptism, knowing that while you’re sleeping in a team from our church has been painting an elderly woman’s house for a few hours… You get the idea…
In a world that seems to be seeking to take free shots at the church, it’s important we don’t remain a punching bag for negativity.
Instead, it’s time to start celebrating the wins. How will the world around us know what we’re doing if they don’t know about it? More importantly, how will they ever hear the good news, the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, if they don’t see it, hear it and
experience it? May we not grow stagnant as God’s Church. May we
not become seasonal celebrators. Instead, may we be a people
committed to celebrating the greatest “win” of all time -- all of the time!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!