Eleven uniformed men gather in a huddle on the playing field. Across the line of scrimmage awaits the opposing team. In the huddle, the quarterback reminds the others of plays they have practiced and of the importance of this game. With a final exhortation, the players join hands and give out a shout. Then they head for the locker room, convinced that they’ve just enjoyed one of the best pep talks ever.
But didn’t they forget something? What about the game? Is football only about huddles, or are the huddles a means toward playing the game?
I’ve never seen that scenario happen, but I’ve seen Christians break the huddle and then head for home. In the minds of such people, the huddle (i.e. the worship assembly) is the extent of their Christianity. Once home from worship, their faith is removed along with their Sunday clothes. Both hang in the closet until the next Lord’s Day comes around.
Worship is an important aspect of our faith, but there are other aspects. The author of the Hebrew epistle described the place of worship: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24,25, NKJV).
The assembly is a time for exhortation, he taught, much as the huddle is a time for players to regroup, receive instructions and be motivated. Once the huddle is concluded, they go out to play the game. In a similar way, we “play our faith” after leaving the assembly.
James wrote about religion beyond the assembly: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). James said nothing about worship in that admonition. He didn’t deny the importance of worship, but pointed out the goal of our faith. If we don’t live our faith Monday through Saturday, then our Sunday huddles aren’t accomplishing that for which they were designed.
The Lord spoke of the same standard in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” It’s hard to confine those directives to a house of worship. Most realize Jesus was referring to “marketplace religion”, showing the world the good effects God has made in our lives.
Don’t miss the huddle! It’s vital that we make that appointment. But when the huddle is concluded and you’re walking out the door toward your car, realize that you’re walking onto the playing field of your faith.
Is Christianity more than coming together to worship God?