Fruitless Win

I am a NFL football fan. Each season I start out watching football and having a favorite team and hoping we will make it to the playoffs and then Super Bowl. But, as the season progresses and my team has not won enough games to make it to the playoffs but have another game or two to go and then win, it is a FRUITLESS WIN.

Right after Jesus had finished his last Passover meal with His disciples He told them, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you.” (John 15:16) It was not the mission of Jesus to send His disciples out to have fruitless wins. But, yet we have many fruitless wins. Why?

Jesus was a great coach to his disciples. Jim Zorn is a great coach for the Washington Redskins. Both coaching jobs are debatable. It is all in the wins! It is all in the fruit of our lives.

Jesus, the coach instructs his players, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)

“This is the true joy in life,” wrote George Bernard Shaw, – “that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. That being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for it’s own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw wanted to win, not just win for winning sake but win where and when it counts. A fruitful win not a fruitless win. Jesus won you and me by making an ultimate sacrifice that only He could do.

Jesus has called us to community. He has called us to teamwork. We are to work together with one another as a team to make a win count. If not, we can call our win a fruitless win.

A successful gospel singer and founder of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound writes, “A prominent Hall of Fame basketball coach once stated, “A team is developed to achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. All of us alone are weaker, by far, than if all of us are together.” That same Hall of Fame coach also stated, “There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on a fist. Any one individual is important, but all of them together are unbeatable.”

This is the same teaching Coach Jesus gave His players from God’s Word on using our gifts? I hope your life and mine as ‘team’ in ’09 will be double the wins that counts for the championship!

15 thoughts on “Fruitless Win

  1. These are great comments, quotes and examples in this exhortational blog. Sara you make it very clear that being a team player and on part of the team is not an option but an absolute requirement. And that in this team effort we must strive to be totally poured out like Mr Shaw. And this makes me think that even though we all have a personal race to run, when we get to the finish line and expect the prize, God may ask first ‘where are your running mates?’
    “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim 4:6-8)

  2. YOU sound like a coach, Sara; and I know you are a truly a LIFE COACH. Your comments remind me of a quote, well, a Mis-quote, so to speak, of Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Redskins. His quote …”Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” I read in the research that what he really said was, “Winning isn’t everything, but WANTING to win is.”
    How many of us WANT to win but are not putting forth selfless effort to do it, to stay in shape for the contest? I think we had a discussion on about “wishing” and hoping, etc. for some victory or accomplishment. But without daily training and performing to the best of our ability, winning is just a dream or just beyond our reach.
    Another quote attributed to Mr. Lombardi is…”If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?” And there will be a score to settle at the final game. Working as a team when some of our teammates are having a difficulty in their lives, or one teammate is weak, or a team member is out of shape, or not “game ready”, is “injured”. or has Missed the game-plan, is a real challenge to the team’s success. Does the team quit because a member is ‘out of sorts”? The opposer would want that to happen, to put a team out of commission so that there would be weak competition and a weak effort coming from the disabled team. “Strike the shepherd and the sheep scatter.”
    But a winning team keeps on going, reassessing and re-arranging and
    revamping and refreshing, encouraging and restoring until the team is back to winning games. Jesus kept His team together, until the end when He had to go it alone on the cross, the job only He could do. He has won the victory for us. The Scripture says, “thanks be to God Who causes us to triumph, to win.”

  3. Vince Lombardi, one of my very favorite football coaches. And, he said, “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.”

    And, it was said of Lombardi, “When Lombardi said ‘sit down,’ we didn’t look for a chair.”– Forrest Gregg and…”He made us realize that if the mind was willing, the body can go.”– Forrest Gregg and…”All he wanted from you was perfection.”– Jim Taylor

    For those of us that love football, it is playoff and supra bowl time and a great time to take some counsel from the best and run with it in ’09. I want to, don’t you?

  4. For those of you that think perfection is impossible, try reading the same Bible as Jim Taylor and Sara must read. Yep, perfection is possible so don’t look for that chair.

    “Only let endurance have perfect results so that you may become perfect and complete, deficient in nothing.” James 1:4

  5. Vince Lombardi sounds like a man after God’s own heart, a little like a man named David who once said, ” I will not give to the Lord anything that does not cost me something.” The cost of one’s best efforts, unspotted lambs, first fruits of labor to present to the Lord. He gave us perfection in the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, the PERFECT sacrifice. Would we NOT give to the Lord our best, our exhauted efforts to attain the crown, the victor’s wreath to cast before Him on that day?

  6. This part of GBS’s quote above…”torch I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.”
    …makes me wonder do I have a torch, light, to hold up and do I hold it up for others and will I have a light to hold out to future generations?

    A few weeks ago I sat at a luncheon and heard a lady tell about her sister and the next generation. She asked her sister “what do you have that you would like to leave for your two daughters?” She was surprised how quickly her sister answered, ‘my journals.” She went on to tell how long she had kept them and how she had added cards and dates and times to remind them of her prayers for them and others and dated the answers and results that faith had wrought to them as a family and community, etc.

    The lady also told of the excellent character the daughters demonstrated daily to confirm the journal. Now this sure makes me think of the above quote and living it.

  7. The fist and fingers example above is a good one of a winning team.
    On sports teams not everyone scores, not everyone passes, not everyone runs, not everyone kicks, not everyone is a playmaker, but everyone is essential.
    I like the way the Message Bible addresses our different gifts in the body of Christ:
    “I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
    But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.” (I Cor 12:14-24)

  8. Most interesting thoughts from The Message Bible on team work. What does happen if you are an eye and you act like the ear? Do you cut it off like St. Peter thought.

  9. What an interesting question, Sara….”What does happen if you are an eye and you act like the ear?” Hum, I would think it would be like …….. being “blind”, with no way to hear?

  10. If you are an eye and act like an ear you are a pretender, not authentic and/or confused about your gifts. This may interfere with the ear doing their job properly because you are in the way and not minding your own business.

  11. Needles comment makes me think of:
    Three blind mice,
    Three blind mice
    See how they run,
    See how they run!

    They all ran after
    The farmer’s wife
    She cut off their tails
    With a carving knife
    Did you ever see
    Such a sight in your life
    As three blind mice?

  12. Sara, This blog has really touched me. Not only are you an awesome solider of God , but you are a great coach as well. I have played sports all my life. I played basketball, softball and tennis in High School and basketball and softball in college. Team work is the key. When your shot is off, it is good to be able to pass it to your teammate to help win the game. There is no I in TEAM. One is weaker than two. Individually we can have a weak day but together we can be strong, especially with Jesus being the coach. With Coach Jesus we will have sight, strength, endurance, power, and wisdom to defeat the “dark side”. So I say put some glasses on those three blind mice, sew their tails back on and PLAY BALL.

  13. Amen Sister Chickenfarmer! I like the way you get those church MICE back to work. Great Coach you are. Now stay with it in ’09. Make your team hail the King and winner our team will be!

    Your comment purchased a favorite verse from my heart. It is found in Romans 5:5…”Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom God has given us”

    Vs.3 says, ” We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”

    Hope is the needle and love is the thread that sews the tails of the mice back on. Thank Chickfarmer!

  14. I think we have some team work going on now. Chickenfarmer’s words of exhortation are like …”The words of the Lord are true words: like silver tested by fire and burned clean seven times.” (Psalm 12:6) and with this silver she ‘purchased’ (I love this creative sentence of Sara’s) an encouraging verse from another great exhorter, Sara.
    Thanks to both for the encouraging teamwork.

  15. Hey ChickFarmer, I forgot to get those mice some new glasses. OK, I just ordered them, seeing eye glasses with frames colored in JOY!

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