By Matt Greco
By the time this article is published, the 2015 Major League Baseball season will be underway. It is also very likely that no matter how the Kansas City Royals start off the year, Kansas City baseball enthusiasts will be talking about last year’s wonderful season. It was a wonderful, magical season!
The Royals had a pretty good season going into the last few weeks of the year. There were some ups and downs, but they eventually found themselves in a one-game play “in” with a chance to go into the postseason. The winner of this game would be the Wildcard. This is where the magic really started. To begin their record-setting postseason, the Royals played an astounding, come-from-4-runs-behind, 12-inning, nail-biter to defeat the Oakland A’s! The Boys in Blue went on to set an MLB record of winning 8 straight postseason games and set another MLB record of winning 4 extra-inning postseason games. Eventually, the Royals played and lost to the San Francisco Giants in a seven-game World Series, the Royals first World Series since 1985. But they had plenty of help; they had plenty of mojo that was happening all across Kansas City!
What do I mean mojo? After the Royals beat Oakland, I overheard some mojo recall that helped explain why the Royals won. It went more or less like this:
—When the Royals got behind, I started studying my Greek, and then we started coming back, so I studied my Greek until we won!
—After the Royals got behind, I went to bed. When I woke up, I learned we had won!
—It looked like we were going to lose the game, and it put me in a bad mood, so I got snarky with my wife, and we started to argue. As we argued, the Royals came back, and we eventually won.
Now each of these comments is from someone who would be considered a maturing Christian man, who is biblically literate and theologically sound. Yet, when it came to the Royals, they all had their mojo going! They all referred to the Royals as “we.” In fact each of these gentlemen stated they would be doing the same thing next game (studying Greek, going to bed early, getting snarky with the wife) in order to help the Royals win. This fascinated me, so I asked a group of otherwise maturing Christian men, who are biblically literate and theologically sound if they ever had or did any mojo before they or their favorite team played a game. Their answers astounded me! The answers went something like this:
–If we were on a winning streak, I would wear the same socks until we lost.
–If my team was winning, I would watch the next game on the same TV I was watching when they won.
–I always went to bed at the same time before a game and always ate the same breakfast on game day.
–I never watched TV or read the paper on game day.
–I would go to mass on game day. On the way out of the church, I would get an extra helping of holy water and then touch all my major joints with the holy water to keep from getting injured.
—I am not superstitious, so no mojo, but I always ate the same pregame meal at exactly the same time, and then I would warm up exactly the same way, but I am not superstitious. (yeah right)
So, what was your mojo to help the Royals? Or what is your mojo to help your favorite team win? Do you put on your favorite sweatshirt, have the same pregame ritual, eat the same snacks, use the same TV? When the Royals lost their first postseason game, one of the aforementioned maturing Christian, biblically literate, and theologically sound men came into work and stated, “I know why the Royals lost.” We looked at him with collective hope in our eyes. “My buddy took his girlfriend to the game, it was her first game ever, and she doesn’t even like the Royals!!” The collective “NO” was deafening! How could she?! Worse yet, how could he??!!
I recently watched a commercial where a stranger, carrying his own chair, showed up in a couple’s apartment. He explained that last year this was his apartment, and he sat right there in that chair, and the team won the championship. The couple looked at the stranger, looked at each other, and then shook their heads with approval and asked him if he would like a snack. What is weird is that I didn’t think it was weird! I got it.
Okay, time for a reality check. The truth for me and you and for all those who have helped their teams keep a streak alive, come out of a slump, or win that championship game is that there ain’t no mojo! That is correct; let me repeat, THERE AIN’T NO MOJO!
The only reason the Royals or the Chiefs or the Chicago Cubs ever won or lost a game or a championship is because they had more or less runs or points than their opponents at the end of the playing time. The exception may be the Cubs; they may indeed be cursed.
Why write about superstition and lucky sweatshirts and mojos in a church newsletter? The reason is that sometimes Christians or would-be Christians approach life in Jesus Christ with their lucky socks on. People use their “Christian Mojo” to try to get into a relationship with Jesus Christ or to get closer to Jesus Christ. Here are some examples:
—If I can just have my quiet time, then I will be set for the day.
—I know I’m not giving enough, but when I get over (fill in the blank), then I will start giving more.
—I may not be perfect, but I haven’t (fill in the blank) yet, so I am not so bad.
—If I could just do this or that, etc. / if I could just stop doing this or that, etc.
Now, here is the reality: THERE AIN’T NO MOJO in the Christian life. No amount of being good or giving of money or serving on committees or not doing this or doing that will bring you into a relationship with Jesus Christ. No amount of being good or giving money or wearing your John MacArthur hat will make Jesus love you more once you are in a relationship with Him. As Pastor Tim takes us through the book of Romans, he has taught us, and we have learned and are learning:
- Rom. 3: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
- Rom. 5: 8 But God shows His love for us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us
- Rom. 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
- Rom. 8: 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- Rom. 10: 9–10 because if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Rom. 12: 1–2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
It is God’s glory, it is God’s mercy, it is God’s free gift, it is Jesus Christ declaring that we are not condemned, it is through God’s mercies, and it is God’s will. If you are a part of God’s team (saved by grace through faith), then He has a part for you to play. It is not about your lucky sweatshirt or your pregame routine; it is about God’s Holy Spirit working in us, and you and me working with Him.
In Philippians 2:12b–13, Paul writes, “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” It is not working for our salvation, but working out (exercising) our salvation in Christ.
So join us here at Faith Community Church, knowing that God is working in and through us. Exercise your spiritual worship here at FCC, and we will all win! And, just in case, keep those lucky socks handy if the Cubs are close in September.
Sincerely and in Christ,
Matt Greco – Headmaster, Faith Christian Academy