When I was in the eight grade, my father insisted I be on the basketball team. I think he was worried about a son who spent most of his time indoors drawing and listening to music. But I was lousy at sports. I was not competitive, I was uncoordinated, and I hated it!
It was nice to be a part of the team, but when it came to really getting into the game, my fear would kick in and all I wanted to do was retreat to the safety of the bench. I knew I was missing something good, but I couldn’t seem to leave my comfort zone in order to experience it.
In Exodus chapter 20, the Israelites receive an unbelievable invitation to meet and talk with God, but they declined it out of fear. (Exodus 20:18) They chose to sit on the bench, rather than experience God’s fullness…“As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.” (Exodus 20:21)
Today, God invites you and me to meet with Him in His Word, in prayer, and in obedience. He invites us to approach Him and walk in the mystery of His ways. But we often sit on the bench and let the preacher or some other leader do that. Like the Israelites, we’re afraid of what God may require of us, or how it might change us. So we sit on the bench, secretly wishing we had the courage to get in the game.
The good news is the invitation is still open and we still have the ability to answer the invitation. (2 Timothy 1:7) We just have to get off the bench!
God, help us to launch into the mysteries of following You, rather than the paralysis of sitting on the bench.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.