The 2020 Los Angeles Rams were good but not great. They made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing by double digits. They had a few young stars and an up-and-coming coach, but things still seemed to be a few years away for them. You could say that about many teams in the NFL. The traditional team-building philosophy has been to build a team slowly, not to make any moves that are too bold. But many franchises get bogged down in mediocrity. They get stuck in the process of “rebuilding.” Winning is always a few years away.
But as the Rams looked at the upcoming 2021 season, they saw an opening. It was their first real season in a state-of-the-art stadium in L.A., which cost over $5 billion and took four years to build. And they would be hosting the Super Bowl at the end of the season. They had made the investments. They had found a core group of great players. They had the right coach. This was a historic opportunity to win it all in front of their hometown fans. They decided they wanted to go all in on winning now. If you watched the Super Bowl last year, you know the rest of the story. The Rams won it all.
Sports are not the most important thing in the world. But the Apostle Paul believed you could glean lessons from them about the spiritual life by going from the lesser to the greater. He prompted the church in Corinth to think in sports terms: “Do you not know that in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?” This is a principle of all athletics: athletes do what it takes to be the best. His encouragement to the church was: “Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Paul wanted Christians to reflect on the self-discipline and sacrifice that mark the life of an athlete. They have a single focus. Everything in life is shaped around it. How much more should we, who have the most important goal and most lasting reward, be willing to sacrifice in order to win? A “win” for us isn’t a metal trophy; it’s an immortal soul won into Christ’s kingdom.
There is a human tendency to delay serious effort. We think: There will be a better time. I can get around to it later. But what we can learn from the 2021 LA Rams is their sense of urgency. They realized how precarious each team’s chances were. In the NFL, the margin between victory and defeat is razor-thin. One injury, one bad bounce, one bad call—and your season could be over. They didn’t want to keep putting off going all in. Their focus was on this team, this moment, this opportunity. Not next year. Now.
We as God’s people are awaiting Christ’s return, which can happen at any moment. The Great Commission is a tremendous work that we undertake each day, but we don’t have access to a scoreboard or a game clock. We don’t know when we’ll hear the trumpet sound and our part in the work will suddenly end. But we’re here now. We have a tremendous team at First Baptist Dallas. We have unprecedented opportunities ahead of us in the next two years. The time to win people for Christ is now. Let’s do everything we can to win as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Let’s WIN NOW!
Learn more about Mission 1:8 WIN NOW here.