Every team seeks to find its place. For some, it becomes clear sooner rather than later. A tough start to the year may derail big dreams, or a hot start could increase expectations of what is possible. Some teams will believe that they are not where they should be and fight to prove it to the rest of the league. These things always work themselves out as the season comes to a close. You will always have teams who like attention, teams like the New York Jets in football, or the Yankees in baseball. Often times it is the team that gets hot at the right time who ends up finishing where they thought they could if things just came together when they needed to.
Many parents fight to get their kids to the best schools for education, or maybe even for athletics, they are willing to go to great lengths to get their children placed in the best possible situation. No one can blame parents for wanting the best for their kids, it is the parent’s job to advocate for their children until they learn to advocate for themselves. Even as adults, we succeed greatly when we have an advocate clearing the way for us. It might be a coach or a scout, a boss, a spouse, or a wingman/wingette. I have supporters who advocate for the ministry here through their giving and allow me to be here doing ministry with you.
Jesus had someone who set things up for His ministry as well, a man named John the Baptist. John provided a baptism with a message to repent of sin for the kingdom of God was coming! He also warned that while he baptized with water, the one he was advocating for would baptize with the Holy Spirit and would separate those who belong to Him from those who do not (Matthew 3:1-12). After all, Jesus is the advocate between us and God. He is the one who intercedes for us as only He can. In turn, those who believe in Christ advocate for their faith with others by sharing what they have experienced through being in relationship with Him. John gets to have a cool role in all of this, but he doesn’t let it go to his head, he knows his part. In the book of John (author is a different one), John is quoted as saying to his disciples, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John is referring to the rise in popularity of Jesus. John doesn’t seek out his own glory and yet Jesus says, “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he (Luke 7:28).” Jesus boosts John up and at the same time gives perspective on where he stands.
While Jesus is attending a wedding feast he shares a parable about honor:
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)
This is the classic desire to “fly under the radar” or “claim the under dog role” that teams like to adopt. If you want to advocate for someone, advocate for each other on and off the court and the result will speak for itself. Who in your life is your best advocate? Who in your life do you advocate for? I pray that your approach to the game will not change even as your success is recognized by others.