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Don’t give up — stay in the game

Every day we are in a constant battle between good and evil, the flesh and the spirit. Circumstances can sometimes overwhelm us and send us to the sidelines. How do we know if we are on the sidelines and not in the game?

We are on the sidelines when we are spectators and complainers about the problems in our lives. Do you know someone that always complains? If you do, you know that they are not fun to be around. Spectators either blame someone else for the problem or they remain silent and allow the problem to keep happening. I hope that we are not stuck on the sidelines. I hope we can stay in the game. 

Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, stayed in the game. One Sunday in 1787 at St. Georges Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pa., Bishop Allen and his followers were not allowed to pray at the altar. Allen decided enough was enough. He led his followers to walk out of the church that day and eventually started the AME Church in 1816.

Bishop Allen wasn’t a complainer or spectator — he stayed in the game. Bishop Allen could’ve let the church hurt his faith in God, but he decided to stay in the game. How can we stay in the game like Bishop Allen?

We have to become active participants and graduate from spectators and complainers to being a part of the solution. Staying in the game requires us to hold on until the problem is solved.

For Bishop Allen, the problem was racial inequality. Bishop Allen worked to solve this problem by starting the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which proved to be the birth of America’s strongest statement and boldest step for equality and human dignity. The AME Church is a church that declares freedom for all. 

When we look for opportunities to solve problems, remember God is with us every step of the way. If God be for us, who can be against us? Don’t worry about haters, doubters, or blockers that want us to stay on the sidelines.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  Stay in the game. To help you stay in the game, I would like to invite you to SpringFest 2016: Revival through Education, Music, and Preaching at Beulah AME Church March 9-11, at 7 p.m. (for information visit  beulahamechurch.com). Thank you and God bless!      

REV. MATTHEW SHANNON is pastor of Beulah AME Church in Farmville. His email is pastormatthew.shannon@gmail.com.