I’ve just started playing rugby… or should I say, learning rugby. I’m not 100% sure why I am doing it, but I made some cool contacts last night at practice. It was strange to be asked what I do and to say that I am looking entering ministry. The guys who play rugby are often the most rough and tumble guys I’ve ever met, and I wasn’t sure how welcome they’d make me after finding out I’m a Christian and going to be a pastor. Surprisingly, they took one look at the Army shirt I was wearing and told me it was great to have me there.

Over the next hour and a half, I started to learn the game. I learned that rugby uses “laws” instead of rules. The art of passing and making a “back line” are things that I will be learning for quite a while. The interesting thing about rugby is that play never stops. Unlike most American sports which are broken up by down-times, huddles, and time-outs, a game of rugby is either an 80 minute game of “15’s”  or a 14 minute game of “7’s”. Both of these types are divided into two halves. During these halves, the play only stops in case of injury. As long as there is not an injury, movement on the pitch (the rugby name for field) never stops. During play, the players will be involved in scrums, mauls, and rucks, as well as hits as hard as football but without the pads. It is a chaos of controlled violence, and the violence stays on the pitch, often punctuated by a few pints at a pub after the game.

I keep thinking that if we think of our lives like a rugby game, and this world we are living in as the pitch, we might approach our Christian walk with more vigor and passion. Instead of setting aside just one or two plays for God, why don’t we keep moving the ball down the field the whole game? God doesn’t teach us to use a play and then take the bench. Jesus didn’t do this. Why should we? Where are the “time-outs” in scripture?

If I was Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego, I would have been calling for a “time-out” when I got locked in the furnace. Think about it, when the temperature started rising, wouldn’t you raise up your hands and make a “T” to step off the field? What about when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Or when the rain started falling on Noah? What about when Stephen was taken to be stoned? It was his first public play, and here we was getting taken out of the game. I would have been calling for a time-out, wanted a chat with the coach, even asked for a substitution. These biblical men did not take time-outs, why should we?

As you go through your days, why should you be using one playbook or another? Instead, why don’t you look at it as a game of rugby on the pitch of the fallen world we live in. Let’s run some patterns together. We’ll all take some hits and be tackled a lot of times, but think about how much more progress we can make down the pitch if we don’t take the time-outs and step away from God.

The ball is to you, if you’ll pick it up.

Until the Whole World Knows,

Paul

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