What an exciting cap to the July 4th weekend! People who never watch soccer, don’t understand how the game is played, can’t figure out the time allowed, or get winded just watching were glued to their screens last night.  The USA women played an epic, historic game to claim the World Cup trophy. Carli Lloyd performed brilliantly, scoring three goals in what seemed to be the blink of an eye. She barely missed a fourth with a header. There were plenty of stars competing with an outstanding team from Japan.

A common theme from those interviewed after the match was: “It took all 23 of us to accomplish this.” A number of USA players rode the bench last night. You have to believe that every one of them wanted to step on to that field. When Abby Wambach and, a few minutes later, Christie Rampone entered, the stands erupted. Finally they would be able to taste the ultimate victory in their sport. Lifting the trophy together, they were surrounded by a joyous team of colleagues who had labored so hard to rise to the elite in the world.

Not everybody gets to take center stage. I think about that when a quarterback, wide receiver, or running back gets lauded.  Without an offensive line to block, without a scout team to run the opponent’s scheme, without trainers and equipment guys, without a coaching staff, these sport celebrities would have a really hard time being successful.

I remember one award winner at one of the endless ceremonies Hollywood throws for itself. As he lifted his prize, he said, “I’d like to thank all the little people.” I wish “all the little people” had rushed the stage and pummeled him.

There are many qualities we can admire about the character of Jesus. Surely near the top would be His humility. He never seemed to lose His perspective, never demanded first place. He challenged His followers to seek to serve, not to be served.

When Paul wrote about the church, he often used the human body as his analogy. He emphasized the importance of each part (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). He also cautioned that no one should think more highly of himself than he should (Romans 12:3-5).

Yes, there were stars aplenty last night, but “It took all 23 of us” to bring home the gold. Not a bad thing to remember at the office or the church as well as the team.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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