Can you name a team sport that starts with ‘s’? (Think about it’ll wait.)
How about ‘seminary’? Oh, you don’t think so? Well, you’ll have another chance later. Hopefully by then I will have changed your thinking.
Being married and attending seminary takes ‘team sport’ to a whole new level. While you are hard at study your God-given mate is equally busy. He or she is taking care of the laundry, doing the grocery shopping, making coffee, paying the bills, making coffee, listening to your fears, schooling the kids and, once again, making you more coffee… What was a smooth ride is now the Tour de France on a tandem bicycle.
You might be thinking, ‘Well, I’m not married; seminary is definitely not a team sport for me.’ Ahhh, think again, mi amigo soltero. Think how much has happened since you first considered seminary. You floated the idea past key people in your life to get their impressions. You were encouraged as loved ones said they were praying for you. When the acceptance letter arrived in the mail your family and friends celebrated with you. (Probably very few of them helped you move, but, hey, that’s OK; you still love them.) Now that you are solidly into your studies these same people love to hear how you’re doing and what you’re learning. It may be you doing the all the reading, but they are your teammates until you reach the finish line.
Hebrews 11 stirs our spirits when we read the inspiring stories of courageous and faithful saints who have gone before us, but don’t forget about Hebrews 12. The artificial chapter break tends to diminish the power of 12:1 where the writer summarily exhorts us to press on, ‘since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses’ The author of Hebrews peels back the clouds to show our mortal eyes the vast throng of immortal saints surrounding us. This verse is almost deafening with its cheers from the heavenly sidelines to ‘run the race with endurance.’ Sound a little bit familiar?
I know you’re swamped right now. I know that the last thing you want is one more assignment. Can I give you a fun one though? Over the next few days take time on your way to class to make a list of everyone on your team, those people who have cheered you on in some way this semester. A few faces came to mind already, didn’t they? Keep thinking—try not to forget a single one. You might even want to write their names down.
Once you’ve remembered everybody on your team, do two things: First, pray for them. Give the Lord thanks for putting them in your life and pray specifically for each person. You be on their team through prayer. Second, write each one a thank-you note. You don’t have to write and mail a thank-you card to each person (although that would be a nice thing to do if you have the time), but make some effort to reach out. You can send each person on your list an email, or post on their Facebook wall, or however you think they would be most touched. A simple note from you saying, ‘I thought of you today and prayed for you; thank you so much for all your encouragement while I’ve been in seminary’ will bless them far more than you can imagine.
So, back to the original question: