I went to a high school football playoff game last night. Boyd vs. Eastland. Before the game, you could feel the anticipation and the energy. Our side was pretty crowded. For the 1st few minutes of the game, the cheers were strong and loud. Then, they began to diminish. Right before halftime, the enthusiasm level picked up for our side -- as we scored with only a few seconds left. The score was 20-7, and we were the 7.
Midway through the 3rd quarter, "fans" of our team began to leave. By the middle of the 4th quarter, even the guy sitting behind me who had to have lost his voice from cheering so loud got up and left. Final: 38-7.
I couldn't help, as I sat there, but to think about Jesus. After His teaching in John 6 about being the Bread of Life, we are told that many of His disciples left Him. He turned to the 12 and asked, "You aren't going to leave me, too, are you?" It's just human nature. We want to be associated with winners. And that's true in churches, too.
In fact, one of the most popular trends today in Christian circles is the idea that we are always winners. "Become a Christian, and be a winner in life!" Hmm. I wonder if the familly of the three girls in Indonesia who were walking to their Christian school and were abducted and beheaded by Muslims feel like winners in this life? I wonder if Paul felt like a winner in life as his neck was placed on the block. Did the Christians who were fed to the lions in the Roman coliseums say, "Everything is rosy since I chose to walk with Jesus"?
Christians lose battles to cancer just like the rest of the world. Christians die in car wrecks just like the heathen. Christians have spouses walk out on them, lose football games, and have toilets back up just like atheists.
So, what's the advantage? Well one obvious one is heaven. But there is another. Jesus said, "And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age." That's right. Even in the 4th quarter of our lives, when we are down 38-7 and everyone else is leaving. Look up in the stands. There He is. And He's cheering for us just as hard as He was when we were introduced in the pregame hoopla.