Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: Flavor of the Day

ImageFor the last several weeks many Americans have been a bit distracted by the 2010 World’s Cup soccer tournament. It happens every four years, and for that period of time, some (not all) Americans suddenly become interested in the “other” sport of football.

Alas, the American team was defeated in the round of sixteen last week, and the ardor that accompanied the United State’s early success has largely cooled. Soccer is just not that interesting to Americans in general, in contrast to the fanatical love of the game that exists in other parts of the world.

Why is it that most of the world is so enamored with the sport, and the United States isn’t? To be honest, I don’t know! I have educated myself on the sport (at least sufficiently to have a rudimentary knowledge of the rules and strategy). I recognize the athleticism that is required to play the game, and readily admit the high level of skill that world class players exhibit. I have watched entire matches in the past, and followed portions of the games the U.S.A. played in this tournament. But, I just can’t make myself care about the sport. It holds very little appeal for me. In other words, I just don’t get it!

Now, let me use this to illustrate an important spiritual point. I am not surprised that many do not “get” being a Christian. Not many understand the sentiments of the Psalmist, who wrote, “Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me” (Psalm 69:6-9). Such ardor and enthusiasm for God does not resonate in today’s world. As Paul wrote, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

What I don’t understand is that some Christians, those who should have an unquenchable zeal for the Lord, have about as much commitment to His cause as the typical American has for the World Cup. They respond to the gospel as if it were the “flavor of the day”, enthusiastic for the moment, but lacking in the steadfastness required by God. They are as the seed sown in rocky soil in the parable of the sower, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew 13:20-21).

Jesus warned about the fickleness exhibited by so many. He said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). The Christian faith is not an avocation. Those who come to him must exhibit a sacrificial faith. Christ must come first! “So He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life’” (Luke 18:29-30).