Part Two: Lessons from the rodeo about church
We’re going to see lots of spurs at the Austin Rodeo kicking off this week, and one of the most popular competitions is barrel racing, where the fastest time wins.
The rider and horse bust out into a full gallop, kicking up dirt, gaining speed, then they maneuver through three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern.
Spurs in this event aren’t meant for hanging on, but for getting going. “Yeee haaa! Giddy up!”
This is not about staying safe behind the gate or a leisurely trot. There’s a race here, it’s a competition, and there are obstacles so pay attention but do not slow down or you lose.
That is the Christian community of the church, described by the Bible in this way, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
This is getting kicked in the ribs by other church members because you’re sitting around instead of volunteering, because you’re sleeping in at home on Sunday instead of singing God’s praises in church, because you’re separating yourself instead of staying on course.
The words “spur one another on” here in Greek literally mean “agitate” or “provoke to discomfort.” Yes, church can be a pain.
So spur each other on! Don’t let each other slack!
“Ouch! Leave me alone! Ouch! Get away! Ouch.” Spur. “Ouch.” Spur.
And what happens? You maneuver through obstacles you thought you’d never be able to face. Your church achieves a mission goal nobody imagined would ever be possible. A strained relationship with a fellow church member—after hard work and prayer—is reconciled.
God is at work. Through spurs.
PRAYER: Dear God, my church can be a pain, and I’m glad. We spur each other on and it can hurt a bit, but, God, we hit our stride, we maneuver through obstacles, we even kick up some dirt. We’re fighting the good fight. Please bless our church. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Pause and say a prayer today about a person at church who is getting your goat for some reason. It bothers you. They irritate you. They said something. Did something. Maybe the lady in the pew behind you who was coughing during Sunday’s sermon. Maybe the youth leader who disrespected your child. Maybe the leaders or the pastor. Pray, and consider this person to be spurring you on by God’s direction. Be spurred on to love them with good deeds. Forgive them if they’ve sinned. And send them a note of appreciation and recognition. Get over it with God’s help and get moving on mission!