One of the most coveted items when I was in high school (insert old joke here) was The Letter Jacket. The Letter Jacket was by far the most important piece of fashion for any high school student. Never mind it was made of itchy wool and weighed 37 pounds. Never mind that if it rained, it doubled in size and weight. Never mind that most folks only had a 18-24 month window to wear it.
None of that mattered. It looked cool. There was nothing better to wear on a Friday night to the football game or during the winter to the basketball games.
And the best part? Those that had them…we knew that we earned them.
That letter, those pins… They represented hours of practices, gallons of sweat, days of being yelled at by a coach. It meant you stayed late, showed up early. It meant you invested something of yourself into your school.
MAJOR RABBIT TRAIL WARNING:
I admit to being a bit bitter at those who earned their letter through debate or choir. I myself earned a letter in choir but I also earned one in basketball, golf, theater, and something else. Getting suspended? Should have earned a letter in that…
Point is – I can say with absolute authority that the choir letter was the easiest to get. The teacher was nice. We got to sit in the air conditioning. She never made us run lines or cuss at us. I’m not saying choir people SHOULDN’T get letters. Actually, I don’t know what I’m saying on this subject so I’ll just get back to the larger point I was trying to make…
BACK ON TRACK
The High School Letter was the ultimate merit badge in belonging but it also represented something else.
The wearer invested in it. They put in the time and the effort to get it. And The Letter was a symbol of rewarding that investment. The real reward was the thrill of competing on a team, with teammates. The laughter, hollering, and sometimes heartbreak of the locker room.
Belonging doesn’t just happen. It takes some investment. Some sacrifice. Some planning.
Belonging to Jesus is no different. When we belong to Jesus, we belong to the body of Christ. Want to get the most out of that belonging? Invest. Sacrifice. Make an effort in a local church.
I loved high school. I loved college as well. I’m convinced that is because I chose to get involved. To make an investment. I’m fairly certain the same thing happens with churches.
Those of us who are Christ-followers – we’ve been gifted to belong but that gift requires us to USE it. To develop it. To WORK it.
So make the decision to get involved. Do something.
Coach an Upward team.
Help ref for Upward.
Work the concession stand.
Listen to kids on Wednesday night recite their verses.
Play for the worship team.
Learn how to work the sound system.
Film our services.
Work the computer.
Got an eye for photography? Make some backgrounds for the church.
Join the Creative Team.
The key to experiencing a deeper sense of belonging is one risk away. Get going.