Investing To Partner With God
Pastor Ben Spitler
I went to a Watkins Mill High School varsity basketball game last night. A few minutes into the third quarter there was an altercation on the court between two players. Within seconds folks from the bleachers were on the court, other players came off the bench, security personnel mobilized, the refs stopped the game and when the game was resumed about 30 minutes later and played out, there were a dozen MoCo police cars strategically positioned outside the building to monitor players and fans as they left. I asked Pastor Brian, who played high school basketball in Indiana, if he ever came out of a game he played in high school with a dozen police officers ready to intervene if there was trouble. He said no. It’s the day and it’s the area we live in I guess. Last year all after school activities were cancelled at WMHS one Friday because of gang violence on the property. Now, I don’t want to paint a bleaker picture than what is real there. All in all it wasn’t a huge deal last night and as far as I know there was no more trouble. I’m sure there are lots of good things happening in that school and in that area of Gaithersburg. But you and I should pay attention to what’s happening in our community, in that high school in particular which is one of the rougher places in the county right now. You and I should be grateful for and praying for and supportive of what we’re doing in that high school and for a good number of the young men and women who go there—those Saturday football team breakfasts, Pastor Brian’s involvement as a character coach there, our ministry in the Stewartown community, our open gym times here at GCN that gives some of those kids a safe place to play, our Making Men Ministries LLC and more. All of those things are making a difference and I’d love to see us build on them and connect with other churches and make an even greater difference in the community in which we find ourselves.
To illustrate the difference we’re making, let me tell you about something else that happened last night. Two other men from GCN were with me at that game, both of whom invest heavily in young men from that high school. When the fight broke out on the court and people started getting up and joining in, one of the young men that we know on the Watkins Mill bench was headed that way—until one of the men with me shouted his name and told him to sit down. And he did. That GCN guy saved that Watkins Mill player from getting involved in something he shouldn’t get involved in that night, maybe getting hurt and maybe getting suspended. That GCN guy had that kind of influence in that player’s life because of the significant investment of time and love that he’s made in him over this past year—which is no doubt saving that young men from even more.
I begin the new year with that story because it illustrates the kind of investment we will need to make if we want to partner with God in saving this world one life at a time. It does not happen any other way. I pray that God uses our church and churches all over this county and each of us personally to be salt and light and means of saving grace in the year and years to come. Amen! The passionate words of the apostle Paul come to mind from 1 Corinthians 9:22-23: To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
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