There has been a lot of fuss and a lot of press this week concerning the actions of James Harrison. James is the Dad that sent his 8- and 6-year old sons’ participation trophies back because he felt they had not “earned” them. Isn’t it funny what will make news in this day and time?
Who is James Harrison? He is a current member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a walk on at Kent State, was undrafted by the NFL, but after being signed and released a few times finally made a roster. He was the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has been to 5 Pro Bowls and has two Super Bowl rings. In my opinion, he is definitely someone who can talk about overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. However, I will not hold him up as a complete example of the kind of man God calls us to be.
He has garnered support for his actions as well as some criticism. Especially from a group called the Awards and Personalization Association. I assure you, I’m not making this up. This association represents trophy makers. They even have a spokesperson, who when asked about kid’s feeling entitled said, “What is really causing that? Is it the participation award or the environment we live in”? Another said, “Look at the kids face, you can’t put a price on that.” There’s some guilt for you.
Personally, I never received a participation trophy unless you can call “Lettering” in high school sports one. My children did receive participation trophies and I have to admit I thought they were meaningless. I do think this reinforces an expectation that if not balanced with how life really works can lead to some issues. What do you think?
It’s one thing to have a 6-year old come up to you and show you a participation trophy but to have a 26-year old do that, well that would be disturbing.
Do you think this type of attitude effects the Church? Not just our church but the Church as a whole?
I know I have heard people say “I don’t get anything out of it.” Honestly, I have said and felt that in the past. Is church supposed to be about what we get out of it? Is church supposed to entertain us?
Jesus is our example. He went to church, he said that the Church mattered. He died for the Church! Jesus came as a servant, He served the Church. If Jesus received a participation award, was it the cross? I believe the cross was quite more than a participation trophy.
Why do we come to church? Is just coming to church enough?
I believe we have people who want to be at church, some who think they have to be there out of some sense of obligation or social concern and some who only give God a few hours on Sunday morning each week. Which one are we?
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25.
I can only speak for myself but I look forward to church. I enjoy the fellowship and the services. I look forward to our RAMP meetings anticipating what will be said and shared. At this point in my life, I want to know all I can about God, Jesus and what is in His Word. I need the conviction of the sermons. I need the support of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I need to serve and follow the example Jesus set.
Can we do that at home? I know there are many who can’t make it to church due to health or age issues. I don’t think for a minute that they are less a believer than I am. I may be in that same situation one day. But while we are able and capable, shouldn’t we be in church and serving?
While what we might receive shouldn’t be our primary concern for serving in church, the book of Revelation speaks about the Throne of Heaven:
“The twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.’” Revelation 4: 10-11.
So is it possible that whatever rewards we do receive, that when we stand before the throne, we will give them back to Jesus? If that is the case, wouldn’t we want to give him back something more than just a participation trophy?
May we always be running to the cross of Christ!