Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky quickly exposed me to (in my opinion) the greatest rivalry in college basketball: Kentucky vs. Louisville. In this state you either bleed blue or bleed red. There’s no cheering for both. You’re one or the other.
Both fan bases have their crazies. The stereotypical idea of a Louisville fan is a chin strap beard, an arm full of tattoos, and a flat bill hat with maybe some aviators. On the other end of the spectrum there’s the stereotypical idea of a Kentucky fan: a pale, overweight hillbilly, wearing a UK jersey and missing some teeth.
Today these two teams will face each other and there will only be one victor and for the remainder of the year that teams fan base will have bragging rights until the two teams meet again.
For the next few minutes though I want to share with you another rivalry I’m noticing in the world today. The rivalry between the church.
Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. There is a rivalry not just amongst pastors in churches but amongst members of the congregation as well. Pastors from different churches call each other up and 99% of the time the first thing they’re interested in hearing about are the numbers of Sunday’s attendance. We do this because we identify our success by this very thing. Not only that but there are some pastors out there who are more interested in the failures of other churches than the success of their own.
But it’s not just pastors who can make this mistake. Members of the congregation do it as well. How many times do you post something on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram to show others how better your church is than your friends? Sometimes the rivalry isn’t even amongst members of other churches but instead amongst members of our own church.
“My kids are better than there’s”
“We tithe this much more than them.”
“I serve in this area, and this area, and this area and they don’t do one single thing.”
It’s sickening when you take a step back and look at it. Jesus didn’t say go out and see who can grow the biggest church. He didn’t say go out and live a better life than your neighbor. He said, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19-20).
That was Jesus’ final commandment. No where in there does is say anything about you or me. It’s all about growing HIS kingdom and baptizing people in HIS name.
So when the church down the street has more baptisms or when your church has a more successful outreach than your friends, realize that that is a win for Jesus and a loss for Satan. That is the only rivalry that matters.