I love to celebrate. I celebrate little victories and big victories. I celebrate personal accomplishments and the accomplishments of others. It doesn’t take much to get me to celebrate with you. If you’re excited, I’m usually excited (pastoral exclusion clause for excitement over sin; I can’t get excited about that). I especially love to celebrate church things. I am deeply moved when people accept Christ at church. It never gets old. I get excited for baptism Sundays, for baby dedications, for people joining the church, for students signing up to go on their first (or 8th) mission trip, for when an elementary kid brings his quiet time for the first time. These things are worthy of celebration.
We all celebrate some of those things together in church, and I think we’re all excited for what God is doing, but not everyone is invested in it. Some have worked and fought hard with and for others to experience victory. People have given their time, their abilities, their finances, their friendships, their wisdom, etc. to the church, to their neighbors, to their friends, to their families, because they are invested in the Kingdom, but not everyone is. Some are just there to celebrate at the end. I was thinking about this dynamic as I was reading about David’s Mighty Men in my devotions last week.
“Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar son of Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah. Once Eleazar and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. He killed Philistines until his hand was too tired to lift his sword, and the LORD gave him a great victory that day. The rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder!” 2 Samuel 23:9-10 https://www.bible.com/bible/116/2SA.23.9-10
Eleazar stayed to fight. David was at war with the Philistines, and he wasn’t going anywhere. Most of his soldiers left, but not Eleazar. He was invested in the battle and the subsequent victory. The rest of the soldiers came back only when the battle was won to collect the plunder. They returned for the celebration. On that day, they were nothing more than party guests, while Eleazar was a mighty warrior.
In the context of the church, which are you? Party guest or mighty warrior? Are you standing in the trenches, pushing forward for the advancement of God’s kingdom? When we celebrate at church, are you celebrating as someone who was invested, or are you celebrating as a party guest? Are you doing what you need to do to see victories for the kingdom: people coming to church for the first time, people accepting Jesus as Lord, baptisms, kids learning about Jesus, etc.? You can. Even if you haven’t in the past, you can. You can start investing in other people, inviting other people, serving in one of the many ministries in the church, investing your offering in the church. You can get involved and fight for victories and advancements for the Kingdom of God.
Don’t be just a party guest. Be a mighty warrior.