At a young age, a boy decided to follow a particular sports team. His parents allowed his preference and occasionally indulged him with a jersey or banner. Once he committed to the team his parents were surprised to discover he was immovable, even when the team had a terrible losing streak that lasted into his teen years.
Teachers and students alike enjoyed making the team the brunt of many jokes. The jokes began because the players did not play as a team, but were intensified when they began blaming each other to the media. More than once a disagreement between the teammates meant one or more players were escorted out of the game. Even the team mascot became synonymous with poor sportsmanship after a poorly executed joke.
It was difficult for fans in the home city to remain faithful, let alone fans who were not tied to the team by some bond. The boy’s parents became concerned over his continued dedication with a team that was far from worthy of his loyalty. It was disturbing to watch game after game end in defeat and disarray, and they worried about the impact it had on their son.
The boy’s father turned off the television during a particularly bad game, and looked at his son. He expected an outburst like the players of his favorite team. Instead he looked composed and a little sad. His father asked what he thought of the game. He listened in surprise as his son recounted several mistakes in the game without defending the behavior.
He asked if the boy felt the team deserved his support. His son was quick to answer they did not, that their behavior was not worthy of the proud history of the previous teams and players. This made his father pause and reflect. He asked his son if the reason he continued to follow the team was in hopes that they might return to the team they were years before.
His son thought for a minute and then responded. “I do wish they were better than they are right now, definitely. But Dad, I didn’t choose them because they were the best. I chose them because I liked them and they matched what I wanted in a team. They aren’t very good right now, but they are my team. I’m willing to wait for them to figure out how to play again.”
Moral of the story:
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
In Matthew 3:14-15 John the Baptist became aware of his own failings when Jesus came forward to be baptized. Baptisms in those days were not religious, they just meant allegiance and agreement with the teachings of the person baptizing. John even said that he was just baptizing with water, that the one who came after him would be much more significant. Why would he try to talk Jesus out of this act of allegiance then? I suspect it is because John knew he was flawed. Even though he preached repentance and preparing for the Lord, he found himself unprepared. Jesus answered John by pointing out what he knew all along. John knew his job was to prepare the way, what he forgot was that his baptisms signified agreement with what he preached, repentance. Repentance is what starts us on the way to all righteousness, it means admitting we come up short. John didn’t need to be perfect to deserve the allegiance of Jesus, and I am thankful that neither do we.