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At a service I attended the preacher displayed a picture of an empty football pitch viewed from above. He then asked us to consider where we would be on that pitch if it represented our spiritual life. A few people talked about being strikers, because they were full on for God. One student of theology said he’d be a defender because he was into apologetics and defending the faith. In that room there were midfielders (supporting the strikers with ‘passes of encouragement’ no doubt), coaches, and fans. After 5 minutes I piped up ‘I’d be the goalkeeper’. The hushed room turned to hear my wise reason for selecting this position. With a deadpan face I delivered my thinking and smiled triumphantly ready to bask in my own comical genius; ‘Well’ I said pausing for effect, ‘He makes all the saves doesn’t he!’

Silence is an underrated tool of reflection that can be used to great effect in drawing close to the Lord, and seeking his still small voice. The silence that followed this remark wasn’t of that ilk, but I tried to look as though I was reflecting so to appear holier than everyone else in the room who were now staring forlornly at me. The preacher coughed and there left behind his football analogy, forever one would think.

In my desire to be witty I had stumbled onto a heretical mistake a lot of Christians make – I wanted to make all the saves! Within this good intention of reaching the lost for Jesus I had left out Jesus! And it’s not just in the area of evangelism that I do that. As a Christian, I want to do good things and I try to have good intentions behind my actions. But what good are these good intentions if they are not held up to the light of Jesus Christ? I spend my day doing what I think is right and good for a Christian youth worker to do, without checking it with the one who created me! The irony is that I’d probably end up doing similar things with my time only with the Master’s blessing instead. Jesus is the goalkeeper, but he is also the dustbin man, the youth worker, the teacher, and the MP. Jesus tells us that when we remain in Him, He will remain in us – He calls us friends not servants and we are His friends if we obey Him. This might sound like a very boring and restricted picture, but to me it is a picture of freedom. When I remain in Jesus, He remains in me, when I am found in Jesus, Jesus is found in me, when I am found in Jesus, I find myself how I was intended to be and as the Father still sees me. 2000 odd years ago God choose to unveil Himself to the world in the form of a human. 2000 years later he chooses to unveil Himself through His people. When I remain in Jesus, He makes the saves not me.