Stay at home!

It being football season, I have considered it well to reconnect with a subject broached years ago. Our fourth son, Jeshua, played for the Wahama White Falcons, and, in this particular game, the team played Doddridge County High School.

Late in the third quarter, the Doddridge offense lined up in a formation that revealed the clear markings of running a play to the short side of the field along their sideline. Jeshua played outside linebacker, which positioned him on the opposite side. When the ball was snapped, and the play moved as expected, Jeshua sprinted from his position, and tackled the quarterback from behind for about a three-yard loss.

Goodness, it looked good to me and to the people in the stands. But, evidently, it did not look so good to the coach. I happened to be standing directly behind the coach, who held his game-plan ground about the play. He raised his hand as high as he could stretch, with his index finger pointed to the ground, and yelled, “Jeshua, stay at home! Stay at home!”

When Jeshua realized his name was being called, Coach reiterated with the same gesture, “Son, stay at home! Stay at home!”

It was then that I remembered: Jeshua had been reprimanded on several occasions during the season for forsaking his contain position as an outside linebacker. Coach explained again how he could envision an opponent’s offensive coordinator recognizing such loss of contain and exploit it for a large gain, which could make a difference in a game.

I have always made it point to my boys to do what the coach says to do, and be where the coach wants them to be on any given play. Jeshua’s play, although appearing acceptable and exciting, was, in fact, a play that went against the coach’s prescribed defensive design. So, I felt a little sheepish for applauding the play.

This, however, makes for a significant spiritual “stay-at-home” consideration.

Primarily, it reminds us how easy it has become for people associated with the contemporary church to affirm immoral and unethical behaviors that run contrary to the revealed will of God, instead of upholding God’s expectations. We have weakened our religious standards to move to mere relevant practices and perspectives calling them obedience to God, and, in the process, wind up countermanding the absolute truths of God’s commandments for life. Really, we celebrate more a “stray from home” spirituality rather than an obedient “stay at home” Bible plan.

If you do not think it is true, make an honest evaluation of the poor moral mindset being embraced by people associated with the church. Honestly evaluate the low-grade public opinions being pandered by the church on social issues. We are, oh, most certainly, cheering on the bad practices and positions that may appear acceptable to humanistic reasoning, but are unacceptable to the standards of God’s expectations.

All the while, God in Heaven is raising His hand, and pointing down to the Cross of Christ. He is holding the moral and spiritual game-plan ground He has stipulated for years, and is calling to those who will listen, “Stay at home! Stay at home!” It is critical for parents to “stay at home” with Bible-based admonitions for their children. It is imperative to churches to “stay at home” with actual Bible-based leadership. It is compulsory for society to “stay at home” proactively embracing the standards of the Ten Commandments.

We are being grossly remiss for cheering on those who forsake positions of moral contain. The more we affirm it, the more it encourages others to forsake it. All the while, the devil recognizes it, and is making some incredible end runs for significant societal and spiritual gains.

When Jeshua came off the field, he got the same word of instruction from others on the coaching staff. Our oldest son, Ron, was in attendance of this game, and, at the time, was the defensive coordinator of the Musselman High School football team. He gave similar instruction at the house to Jeshua after the game. Ah—-such is the mindset of coaches.

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By Rev. Ron Branch

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.