There has been so much talk about participation trophies in the realm of parenting. Every year, at the end of the season our kids line up to receive those little mementos that they did their best, even if maybe they didn’t. My daughter plays softball and it’s really hit or miss whether she’s going to do her best in each game. Some days she chases the ball down like she’s making the final out in the World Series and some days, well, she sits and builds sand castles in the brick dust. Isn’t this so much like our relationship with Christ?
In our daily walk we mess up. Some days we feel as if we are on top of it and other days we are building our spiritual sandcastles. Every day we are sinners. We will never get this walk perfect, but all we have to do is sign up and do our best. Declaring Christ as our personal savior grants us the ultimate participation trophy. God understands that when we sign up for this walk that it’s going to be messy and there are days our heads aren’t in the game but it’s the most basic form of love that is the greatest. We get grace in that contract and for that I especially am thankful.
On the other hand, if we don’t make that commitment we don’t get the prize. There are so many wonderful people in this world who do not believe and when it comes time to line up at the end of this game of life, won’t receive the same grace. It’s the most basic verse, the one that everyone knows. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The requirement is believing. Nowhere does it say be a perfect person, only believe. It also doesn’t require a lifetime membership, you can sign up at the last second of the grand championship and that trophy is yours. Should we do our best? Absolutely! But, even the best players strike out from time to time.
I imagine the entrance line to heaven being much like a really fancy line up at the final game of a little league game. The season is over, the bad plays are forgiven and all of a sudden we’re all just standing there waiting on the same prize. God gives us a high five and tells us good game or probably something way more profound. We walk off the field of gold right on through the pearly gates and collect that ultimate participation trophy.