A seat in the arena doesn't mean someone engages and enjoys.

©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

People know what they’re here for – and they’re excited about it. Clapping. Cheering. Chanting.

Trumpets and other instruments blast out songs that spark energy and uplift the spirit.

In the student section, chants and hand motions unite those cheering for victory.

Yet, the woman in front of me tunes it out.  Throughout the game, instead of engaging and pulling for her team, her head is bowed toward her phone.

Others cheer and call out, engaged in the action, but one can’t help but wonder about the apparent lack of interest of the woman in front of me.

She’s in a pricey seat but doesn’t appear to value it.  

Throughout the stadium, people of all ages wear blue as if to shout their allegiance.

On a rare occasion, when action draws awe from the crowd, she wrist claps while clutching her phone.

The woman in front of me has a seat in the stadium, but isn’t involved in the experience.

At the action-packed basketball game, with the band playing, the people chanting, the players racing, and the contest waging, I am perplexed by the woman in front of me whose eyes stay fixed on find-it games, news, and social media.

The seats aren’t cheap.  Season ticket holders pay a hefty premium to have set seats – and students endure sleepless nights and sometimes storms as they camp out to try to get seats.

Now the woman next to me?  Her gratitude at being there is evident. On a detour while heading back to the Midwest, she and her husband, a lifelong fan, are delighting in their first game. During halftime, she calls it a gift.

The overall experience captivates their attention. The body-surfing mascot. Spirit leaders use their collective bodies to spell out the team name on the court.  Cheerleaders build pyramids and do flips. Athletes up the score, defend against challengers, and even slam dunk baskets.

Sadly, the woman in front of me is not only missing out on all the experience offers, but also distracting others with the glare emanating from her phone.

Her lack of engagement causes one to wonder why she is there, and how much she cares.  

And, then I wondered… are we ever that woman in life?  Missing opportunities to enjoy all that God provides in life, to live life in delight, embracing where we are?

Do others see me living life joyfully?

Jesus said (John 1010b), “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Each day, we make a choice about how grateful we are to have a costly seat paid for by Jesus on the cross.  Our actions demonstrate whether we delight being in the family, and how much we celebrate the gift of life and love we’ve been given.

We choose whether to cheer and support our brothers and sisters on the court of life in the battle against the trials of life. We decide whether to be clothed in the colors of love, forgiveness, kindness and humility, and identify with the team we’re on.

At any given time in life, we are the man or the woman in front of someone.

Will they see us joyfully experiencing life in its fullest as God intends, or completely distracted by worldly things? 

Do we only occasionally glance up and give quick applause to what God‘s doing in our world? To the wonders He’s created, to the works He’s doing?   

Or are we clutching the things of this world so tightly that it’s unclear to those around us whether we truly enjoy living life as part of God’s team?

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.  Luke 8:14-15

  • Which sport or sports team is your favorite?
  • What distracts you from spending time thanking God, supporting His mission, and living life more engaged with Him?
  • Which “clothing” attribute in your life most identifies you as being on God’s team?  Which one do you want to display more visibly?
  • Who is a “woman in front of you” whose life has been a positive influence in your faith life?

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


*Scripture references are from New International Version (NIV)




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