Posted by: Jim Black | October 12, 2009


I have a preacher friend who used to say all the time, “People are funnier than anybody.” He was usually referring to something silly or outlandish that a church member had done without thinking and he would just shake his head and repeat it again, “People are funnier than anybody.” He was right, of course. People are funny and we do some pretty silly things. Take football for example. This is the season for football and the time of year when a lot of folks go a little nuts supporting their favorite team. In fact, it could be argued that for many in Tennessee and Alabama, football borders on being a religion. Fans make their weekly pilgrimages to the stadiums where, in exchange for some big bucks, they are seated along with thousands of other screaming fans to root on their favorite teams. Fans aren’t interested in playing for themselves… no, that isn’t their intention. They are content to just be spectators. They sit on the sidelines and watch others have fun. They cheer as others make the big plays and achieve the victories. They holler as others take the hard hits, pick themselves up and get ready for the next down. They are content to watch others live life to the full… while they just sit by and watch… spectators. Oh, they’ll make excuses… “I’m just too old to play anymore”… or, “I played many a game in my time,” or “I never was good enough to play myself” or “I’m not sure I’ve got what it takes”… and they’re content to sit by and watch while others play the game. How ludicrous is that? People are funnier than anybody.

As I said… football is something of a religion in many places… but what may be worse is that many treat their religion like they do football… as a spectator sport. They are content to make their weekly pilgrimages to church where they can find a comfortable seat among the others who have gathered to cheer, throw in a few dollars to the offering plate and ensure that the gospel is spread. The actual work, however, is left to others… the ministers? The elders? The deacons? They will do the work, take the licks and make the plays. The spectator Christians are content to sit by and watch. Oh, they’ll cheer and holler! They’ll be the biggest cheerleaders when a new ministry opportunity comes down the pike… but they won’t volunteer to participate. They’ll be the first to point out when the coaches have made a bad move or the referees have made a bad call… but they won’t volunteer to lead or coach for themselves. They’ll be glad to point out the need for a new ministry here and there… but you won’t see their name on the roster. That’s because they’re content to watch… they don’t want to get into the game for themselves. Maybe they’ve put in their time and want to enjoy retirement? I wonder if Moses was contemplating retiring when God called him from the burning bush at 80 years old? Maybe they just don’t think they’ve got what it takes? I wonder if Peter ever wondered why Jesus had picked an impetuous fisherman to preach God’s Word to thousands? Maybe they just don’t want to get knocked down? I wonder if Paul ever considered staying down when they were throwing rocks at him? Whatever the reason, spectator Christians are fine just watching as others play the game. “People are funnier than anybody.”

God has called us and he has called EACH ONE of us. That means we are all on the team… meant to play not watch. We are meant to participate, not spectate. We are meant to get in on the action, not watch it pass us by. We are meant to live life to the full, not simply sit idly by. Where are you? Are you on the field or in the stands?



  1. I’m pretty sure I’m married to that preacher friend.

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