Message From Matt – September 19

Running in a Pack!
When it comes to personalities within a group, everyone is different!  
Some people are loners who aren’t comfortable in a crowd!  Then there are others who are completely comfortable in a crowd and want the spotlight shining bright on them and then there are many who fall somewhere in between these two extremes.  
In this culture that constantly tells us to “Be True To Yourself”  or worse to “Love Yourself,” I feel that the two extremes might actually become more of the “norm” than the exception which really shines the light on the person rather than on the whole…or more importantly, on God!
Of course, we could focus on the problems with people that want the spotlight, but the problems that come from that are pretty obvious.  Instead, let me focus on those that would rather do things on their own rather than being part of a group.  
The big problem with this thinking is that a loner won’t go as far as those that are in a group and the loner misses out on important relationships and lessons that come from being in a group!
There is strength in numbers!
One of the most deflating stories (from an American perspective) from the 2016 Olympics is about the US Women’s Cyclist, Mara Abbott.  Mara was leading the very long road race and actually had a 39 second lead on a group of 3 riders with just under 2 miles to go.  Everything seemed to be going her way and she thought that she was going to win the race…but shockingly she didn’t win!  Instead, she came in 4th place! 
If you didn’t see the race, you are probably asking yourself “What Happened?”  How could she lose and not even medal with that much of a lead and under 2 miles to go???
It turns out that a 39 second lead can be erased very quickly when a competing cyclist gets in a pack and they feed off of each other like they did.  The group of 3 took turns pushing one another!  One would take the lead and then another would pass that leader and it would go back and forth until they overtook Abbott.  In fact, they closed the gap so quickly that when they passed Abbott, they made it look like she was cycling in cement!  
They worked together to make each other better!  
There are good lessons that we can learn from this story:

  1. You can go (and our church too) farther and achieve greater success together rather than alone!
  2. You need people around you to push you beyond what you think you can do!

I admit, there are times that it’s great to just be alone!  Sometimes we really need this.   Even Jesus modeled this many times when he would get alone to pray (Matthew 26:36-44).  But Jesus also modeled togetherness too!  He picked out 12 disciples to do ministry with.  He took them to each town that he traveled to and showed them how to live and how to die.  Jesus modeled that we can do more together than we can do on our own.  In fact, I believe that we were created to be in relationships and not be loners!  
So don’t be a loner! 
Enjoy the people around you and learn from them!  
Please don’t skip church either!  We are told in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we should come together even more as we get closer to Jesus’ return.
We need God’s help every day!  We also need each other!