Red Rover, Jesus, and 'Team God'
By Jessica Brodie
I wasn’t a very coordinated child, but I loved playing Red Rover.
If you haven’t played, it’s where one team lines up on one side of a field clasping arms like an impenetrable gate, and the other team follows suit on the other side. Then, Team A calls out the name of the person they consider to be the weakest link, and that person has to run over and try to crash through their linked-arm “gate.” If they are strong enough to crash through, they get to rejoin their team, but if they can’t make it, they have to join the new team.
I had asthma and wasn’t super-sporty, so I was used to being chosen last for team sports in gym class. But the Red Rover game was different—they ask for the weak ones first, which has the odd effect of making us “less desirable” ones feel wanted.
They’d yell, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Jessica right over!” and I’d race from “my” team—where I wasn’t really wanted, truth be told—across that field and crash my bent arms against the opposing team. Invariably, I wouldn’t make it, but no big loss for me. I had a new team—a place where people cheered for me. (Never mind that they cheered because I’d scored them a point. I was wanted, and that felt good!)
That game reminds me a lot of Jesus’s words to the Pharisees in John 10:9: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved” (CEB).
Imagine with me: This world and the Kingdom of God are two opposing Red Rover sides lining up for the win. Then Jesus, on Team God, steps forward and calls your name. Even though you know you’re no good, weak, unworthy, and a hopeless sinner, still—YOU are wanted! And so you run and run, and you can’t actually get in no matter how hard you try, so you run straight toward Jesus.
And guess what—Jesus, who is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)—lets us in! He calls our name, we run to Him, and voila. We’re in, official members of Team God.
It really is that simple sometimes. At our core, we’re all the weak, unwanted team member. We think we’re part of Team World, but that’s not our real destiny. It’s an illusion.
We’re part of Team God.
So run right over! He’s calling your name.