God’s Word for Today: Fan. As in, supporter of an organized team or group. Fan in this sense is actually short for fanatic. And when it comes to sports, professional, collegiate level, high school, or little league, I have seen some pretty serious fanatics. When it comes to Nebraska Cornhusker football, I can almost be considered fanatical. Please recognize the word “almost” I inserted in that last sentence. I have other teams that I enjoy supporting too. Not quite to the level of the Huskers, but I enjoy cheering them on.
American football season is now upon us. Most levels are still in the practice and perfect stage. Professional has started their preseason. And for the rest of the world, soccer is in full swing. I have a tendency to get lost in what tournament is what with soccer. Maybe one day I will be a serious enough soccer fan that I can keep track. Right now, whether American football, or the rest of the world’s version of football, I really do enjoy the competition.
With the word fan, also comes the many different level of fanatic. You have the casual fan, who if it is convenient, will watch a game and cheer a team on. Then, you have the fan who as long as a team is winning, or their record has them in the lead, this fan will support them. But, if the team is struggling, this type of fan dismisses this team and jumps on the bandwagon of whatever team is winning at the time. Then, you have the fan that throws their emotions out on the field. If the team is playing badly, this fan curses and criticizes every player and coach on the team. Or, blames the negative outcome on the referees. When the team is winning, this fan cheers and praises the team for their greatness. Next, you have the fan that is mostly in the end zone, or a corner thereof because they are downright fanatical. You usually find this kind of fan in a group. Most of the time, this fan is at the game more for the fun of cheering and making vast amounts of noise rather than enjoying the intricacies of the game itself. Sometimes this is referred to as the student section.
The last type of fan you have, is one who no matter win or lose, they will support their team. This fan if called upon would actually go onto the field and play if asked. This fan, in the back of their mind dreams of being called on to the field to play. They can actually visualize themselves being a major contributing factor to a win. I would like to think that I am this type of fan. I enjoy watching others play, but would prefer to be right in the middle of it all myself. With advancing age approaching, I believe my reality is shifting from a player type role to possibly the coach. Yeah, my mind says I could still give it my all. But, my body says, “No son, these muscles and joints aren’t going to react like you want them to anymore”. At least that muscle in my head will still function a little longer.
Matthew 23:13. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
This whole week, we will try to dedicate the GWFT to the word fan and the different types of fans there are. Fan can also be used for your level of participation in God’s work. So, we will try to break down each level of fan and see what we can do to move up to the next level.
Today, our scripture talks about those who thru education or self-appointment, control the gates for fans to enter the kingdom of God. Just like gate keepers and ticket takers at a ball game, there are those who are in control of whether you can enter or not. They stand there with a barrier only admitting those who have the correct pass. There are the VIP gates where you have had to pay exuberant prices for you admission, but the perks are worth it. Those gates have several barriers and checkpoints and only those with enough importance are allowed in.
God saw this flaw in what He was asking of man. The common man would never even be allowed in the stadium/place of worship. Only thru vast sacrifices and rituals was one allowed to worship at a level reserved for the “special”. God determined that this needed fixed. God loves everyone. God wanted everyone to have the same opportunity not only to watch the game of Christian life, but to be able to participate.
Thus, the God who created you and me also gave us an opportunity to purchase a ticket. Thru the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God provided for you a way in. No longer do you have to answer to others of this world to enter God’s stadium. No longer are only the select few allowed to enjoy the blessings God wants to provide. No longer do you have to stand in line and prove your worth.
Today, realize that accepting and believing in Jesus is the only ticket required to have a direct pass onto God’s team. You don’t have to stand outside in the cold and dark waiting for a chance to enter. Jesus paid for your ticket. Time to walk up to God’s “will call” window and accept what He has purchased for you……………