People love to celebrate for all kinds of occasions: weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and more. We even love to practice celebrating. We want to make sure every detail is perfect and goes just the way we have envisioned it.
A couple of weeks ago, we completed our Upward Flag Football and Cheer season at our church. There was one boy in our youngest division who was very tiny and very fast. He would run all over the field and no one could catch him and even if they could get near him, they couldn’t grab his flag because of his height. He became a fan favorite from the very beginning. When he scored a touchdown, which was at least twice a game, he would drop the ball and extend his arms like a track athlete crossing the finish line. The more I watched him the more I thought about why he seemed to be so good at flag football at such a young age.
You see, this young four-year-old boy is the son of the varsity football coach at our local high school. Our high school team happens to be very good, so this young boy sees football practiced and played at a high level every day. Many of us agree that what makes this little boy so good is the simple fact that he understands the concept of football and many of his peers do not. In addition to the game however, he has learned the way high school players celebrate, and thus the genesis of his trademark “arms-extended-wide” touchdown celebration. Most likely he has seen one of the high school players do the same thing.
One of my favorite television shows depicts a father trying to teach his son the game of football, but his son is not very good. As the father is recounting to his wife about their son’s lack of skill, the father mentions that the boy has practiced “some kind of dance”. It turns out to be the boy’s touchdown celebration dance. The father tells his wife, “the boy is not going to score.” You see the boy was preparing to celebrate, but did not have the skills required to actually score and “do his wonderful dance”.
Many of us prepare for things through repetition. We perform the task over and over again until we have mastered it. During this past flag football season, I saw a church sign that read, “How can heaven be your destiny when church is not your priority?” The Bible tells us in Revelation 7:9-11:
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God…”
The Bible is very clear that eternity is about being in relationship with God and worshiping Him continuously alongside people from every nation and every language. Think about the absurdity of saying to God you will worship Him in eternity, yet not worship Him today. We want to score the touchdown but not prepare ahead of time to actually score that touchdown.
We should prepare to eternally celebrate God in heaven today. Or as my four-year-old niece says “on this day.” We should worship God “on this day” and everyday so that we prepare ourselves for the major celebration that is going to take place in heaven. I encourage you to take a step on this day to prepare to celebrate God: say a prayer thanking God for His goodness, sing your favorite hymn/praise song, read God’s Word and let its power soak into your soul, take a walk in His creation realizing He put it all together. Whatever it is; Prepare to Celebrate. Anyway, I was just thinking…