I think one of the most challenging dynamics of being a successful athlete is coping with the fact that what you are MOST famous for, may have happened very early on in your life. By the time most “non-pro athletes” hit their vocational prime, the average NFL or NBA player is already done with their career. A tailback runs for more yards as a second year pro than they do in their eighth year … if they even get that many years in the league. AN NBA player is considered old if they have already celebrated their 31st birthday … that may be the last year of residency for some physicians! Dealing with that type of success, then the early end of career would be a hard dynamic to navigate.
One note of encouragement for any former high level athletes out there is that your life is not defined by your on-field accomplishments. Mature and healthy people continue to grow and develop throughout their lives in many ways … and the most significant legacies of our lives are almost always made by personal development and generosity well into our fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth decades on the planet.
But what about our spiritual lives? Where are the “highlights” of your Christian walk? For some, they might say their high school years — when they were really involved in the youth program at their church or went to Young Life Camp one summer. Others might point to their time in College and their devotion to a particular campus ministry. They spent their summers on mission trips, their mornings doing devotions, their evenings in small groups, and their afternoons doing outreaches on campus. Still for others, it might be their time as a young adult … or as a new spouse or parent … when they plugged into a church for the first time in their “grown up” life. Many people have an early “peak” in their spiritual walk. Are you one of them?
As we sit here today, has life taken the wind out of your spiritual sail? Has the enthusiasm you once had for Christ begun to wane? Have you begun to compromise? Does your life and values look the same as all others around you … including those who do not know Jesus as their Savior?
If this is the case, I want to encourage you this week – and I want to encourage you with the words of Jesus Christ in a letter He wrote 2,000 years ago to a church in a city called Pergamum. You probably feel like you have nothing in common with this church, but I want you to see that in the letter Jesus wrote to this church He says, “Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Jesus wants you to listen to what He says to this church.
In His letter to this church (in Revelation 2:12-17), tells them that He remembers the highlights of their spiritual past … but He also tells them that He desires their devotion in their spiritual present. He wants to continue to grow and develop them in the years ahead. He wants them to know that Mature and Healthy spiritual people will continue to grow throughout their lifetimes, and He warns them against some particular temptations. He also gives them some specific promises they have to look forward to.
I believe this is a letter you and I need to read.
So, let’s read it. On Sunday, January 30, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church in our 3 Sunday morning worship services (8:30, 9:45, and 11:00), and online in the stream, we will be in part 5 of our study of Revelation 1-3 titled “Lord of the Church.” This week we will be looking at the letter Jesus wrote to the church in Pergamum. We will sing, pray, be together as a church family, and look at this letter Jesus preserved for you and me. See you Sunday … and bring friends.