The neighborhood I live in is one street away from park a ball field. It’s almost a mile away, but most afternoons if I step outside my front door and listen closely, I can hear the shouts of encouragement and unanimous happy cheers for the team players when they win.

The Christian life is a lot like a ball game. Except that we are all on the same team. Us, against 1 enemy.

On a ball field, when 1 player goes down, everything stops as the whole team rush over to their fallen team member to make sure he is okay and to respond if he is not. Turning their efforts to ensure that the injured one gets treatment and care because he is very valuable to the team. Because they know that to lose a player over one injury, will cost the entire team future wins in the end.

Could it be that the comrade and unity on a ball team would shame that of the church world? If we really believed that we were on the same team, no one would be able to hold us in our seats from standing up and cheering to the top of our lungs when one of our own teammates succeeds and wins. It would be our natural response, because we know that when a teammate wins, we all win.

It would be odd in fact to watch a ballgame in which the other players just continued on as usual, ignoring the injured team member and hoping he could pick himself up from the dirt, drag his wounded body off the field, and find his own medical attention.

Yet everyday this happens right under our nose. To fellow believers, in our own little Christian community. And we let it happen.

We are called to be the primary givers of healing and first aid to those team members who are fallen and wounded. Those who are weak and struggling. Those who have come to the end of themselves and have lost their way. Those who have gone off course and can’t find their way back again.

But so many times, we don’t. We fail them.But why?

Maybe we are just using people like ladders. Lavishing those that benefit us in some way with love and care, all the while discarding those who have fallen right under our feet by failing to help them up again.

Could it be that a true sign of authentic Christ followers fighting on the same team, is that we genuinely love people…… enough to respond to those who have lost the ability contribute to the team because of their woundedness? We sabotage our own teams success by neglecting to stop at nothing to personally see to every effort for healing and restoration is given when a player is down. Even if it means we must call in reinforcements.

If we are going to preach love, loving those on our own team is a good place to start. Those in our own community and family. Until we can authentically do that, will our efforts to convince a lost and broken world that the love, hope and healing we possess is enough for them too?

I don’t want to be known as the girl who can quote hundreds of scriptures and spout off religious ideology. I want to be known as one who falls and finds hope to get back up again. Who lives her life consciously aware that someone around me, someone within my reach is lost, broken, bleeding – just waiting for a warm body to reach out their arm and say, “Grab my hand, let me help you up. I’ve been where you are. I care. We’re gonna get you bandaged up because you are valuable and so desperately needed on the team.”

I don’t aspire to be the girl who hits the home runs and receives all the accolades of men. I don’t care about being the MVP or lining up for a title, position or spotlight. I’d rather be more like a team paramedic, the girl who when another play goes down isn’t standing around waiting on others to go. I want to be the one who will drop everything, run out on the field just to hold my hands against the wound of another. Preserving life and hope, reminding them to hang on……hope and healing is near.

Programs, technology and modern approaches to doing ministry are all amazing tools to draw people. But they can’t ever reach into the heart of humanity and heal. Lost and hurting people desperately need to see the hope in the eyes of another who loves enough, to just stop and listen and care.