“My time to Shine.”
Back in the days where everyone knew who could actually play rugby and the rest of us formed the ‘B’-Team, I was shuffled out on to the field with the rest of my sports-challenged comrades to see what might happen. I spent my time trying to look as if I knew what I was doing, but, with my compatriots, proved with every move that I did not have a clue. Invariably a tackle was made, the ball went to ground and a ruck formed—its magic when the All Blacks do it.
In our case the ruck was a bunch of preteen boys forming a pile over the poor guy with the ball at the bottom. I knew enough to know that when a ruck was formed, you had to use your boot to remove it in a backward motion. Thus, each time one of these piles of bodies formed over the ball, I extricated it. The coach could not have been more effusive. He singled me out as the sole reason that the game was won. My star was shining! And to prove beyond doubt that there is life beyond the ‘B’-Team, he promoted me to the ‘A’-Team! At this point I must confess that I was one of the reasons why ‘A’-Teams are usually chosen in coaches minds long before the first game. The poor guy should have left me where I was—for his sake. I say no more.
Glory, praise and honour are often misplaced. Today’s PC culture may demand that the unskilled be given rewards for failing, but the Bible promotes none of it. False praise is flattery and Proverbs 29:5 warns us: “A man who flatters his neighbour Is spreading a net for his steps.” Praise for underachievement today will handicap that person in the future. Better still, is to be this man: “He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favour Than he who flatters with the tongue. (Proverbs 28:23). My coach was not giving me false praise, when compared to those around me at the time. The system that gave me an opportunity to ‘shine’ is a good one. But that same system was robust enough to allow me to see my glaring limitations in the ‘real’ world of sport.
In the real spiritual world evil abounds. Skills are learned and tested in our efforts to defeat the devil. If not we will be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:14-16). Now that’s a team, that is a spiritual army at its eternal best—Shining for the Lord!