March Madness is in full swing as the top ranked college teams face off in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It’s been exciting for some and disappointing for others. It’s no mistake that many of the best teams in the tournament have a strong reserve with lots of talent on the bench. Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Louisville and others have stars on the team who are not considered starters. But when called upon, they are ready to get out there and play.
When Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein hurt his ankle in the first half of Friday’s Sweet 16 game against Louisville, bench players Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee were called upon to play in one of the biggest games of the season. Forward Alex Poythress hasn’t started a game this season, but he has scored many points and some helpful rebounds as a bench player. Although every bench player would prefer to be a starter, the rules of basketball limit each team to only five players on the court at a time.
There is no limit to how many may serve as witnesses of the Gospel. In fact, God expects every Christian to be on mission and actively engaging lost people with the Gospel. We’re commanded to be witnesses in our community, state, nation and around the world (Acts 1:8). Yet, we look more like bench players waiting to relieve someone who’s been hurt or has fouled out.
There is no such thing as a bench player in the Kingdom of God. Every believer has been uniquely gifted to serve (1 Corinthians 12) as a witness of Christ. Every Christ follower is to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered” (Jude 3). So, if you’re sitting the bench waiting for the appropriate time, it’s now! The clock is ticking and many people still have yet to hear the Gospel. Get out there and join God in the action and excitement of mission service as His witness, because there’s a lot more at stake than an NCAA championship.