A funny thing happened tonight as I was struggling to translate my thoughts into words… I realized I’d actually already written these words (and they came out much better the last time). So, instead of re-writing everything, I’ll just share the original post from 4/21/11 with you…
I love playing fantasy sports. Baseball, football, basketball, it doesn’t matter. (I even played fantasy golf and auto racing one year.)
Fantasy sports give me a short break from reality every day where I get to pretend that I actually control some aspect of the sporting world. I get to hire players and fire players and trade with other “owners.” But sometimes I actually start to lose focus of the line between reality and fantasy. The fantasy world becomes more real to me than the physical world and my perspective begins to shift toward some kind of displaced sense of achievement.
Just over a decade of ministry has taught me this one sad fact… Churches are full of people who love playing Fantasy Faith.
- They live vicariously through what far-away missionaries are doing…but they would never risk traveling to that place.
- They celebrate what the children’s ministry is doing...but they don’t teach, of course.
- They expect a vibrant student ministry…but they can’t stand to be around teenagers.
- They love listening to enthusiastic worship…but they’ll be listening from the dark, back corner of the room.
- They brag about their church’s community outreach…but they can’t imagine sparing any of their own money.
- They enjoy being part of a faith community…but only on their own terms.
Truth is, Fantasy Faith is easy to play but it doesn’t really have a place in the Church.
If you’re playing Fantasy Faith, it’s as impossible to call yourself a “disciple” as it is for me to call myself an NFL star just because I won my league last year.
Fantasy Faith will delude you into thinking you’re strong when you’re weak. It will trick you into thinking you’re full when you’re empty. It will give you false hope and fake joy.
Fantasy Faith might deliver a trophy at the end of a game, but it will ultimately pale in comparison to the reward you could’ve received.
If you’ve been living out your own version of Fantasy Faith, it’s time to consider that there just might be a better way out there… Disciples invest their time, their money, their energy, their relationships, their families, their strengths, their EVERYTHING into the Church. And at the end of it all, they hear a voice say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Fantasy Faith might be easy to play – it might even be fun – but, at the end of the day, it’s just a game. Invest your life in something that really matters. Dive into your Church today. Use the gifts God gave you. Return the resources God blessed you with. Stop playing the game and begin counting for something that actually matters.
Nobody can do everything. But everyone can do something. Be the Church. Don’t play “church.”