Excuses to Avoid Mission
29-year-old Adam Johnson tragically died after taking a skate to the neck during a game for the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), and now ice hockey leagues around the globe seek to implement improved player safety standards.
In the wake of his passing, the EIHL has decided that neck guards will be made mandatory equipment for the upcoming season. Johnson’s former National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Pittsburg Penguins, will require its minor league affiliates to also suit up with the extra layer of protection. Meanwhile, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association discuss the potential change for future seasons. In fact, several Winnipeg Jets players are already gearing up.
Sadly, Johnson’s demise could have been avoided if leagues had taken more seriously prior incidents that almost cost lives. Why did it take a fatality to incite change? The effort is too little too late for Adam Johnson, who is now the catalyst for that change – but he won’t reap its benefits.
Unfortunately, failure to prevent tragedy, rather than react to it, tends to be an element of the human condition. Making changes can be scary, uncomfortable, and even an inconvenience. It’s the same with going outside of our comfort zone. We often minimize the situation requiring change (and going outside of our comfort zone) so that we don’t have to feel the stress associated with it.
Before we condemn the officials in these leagues, perhaps we should look inward, first. How involved are we in discipleship and missions? Souls all around the world have yet to hear the gospel, the testimony of Jesus, and yet many of us make excuses to back away from the Great Commission. We say we aren’t qualified, or that it’s dangerous, or even that we don’t want to disrespect others’ worldviews. But when we put off discipleship, how many people are we letting down?
Are we preventing loss, or only reacting out of fear for our own self-preservation?
Connecting: Jonah might be the best case study in refusal to disciple. He knew lives were on the line, yet didn’t care. What can we learn from him?
Sharing: Which of Moses’ excuses do you identify with most and why? Are any of them valid when it comes to mission and discipleship?
- Inadequacy (Exodus 3:11)
- Not knowing enough (Exodus 3:13)
- People won’t take me/the message seriously (Exodus 4:1)
- Inarticulation/Inability to express concepts in words (Exodus 4:10)
- Unwillingness (Exodus 4:13)
Applying: Make a list of 5-10 people you can pray for daily over the next six months.
Valuing: How do you feel about your involvement with discipleship? Are you doing enough? Too much? Pray for the Lord’s guidance in sharing the testimony of Jesus.
~ Stefani Leeper