Back in the early 80’s, when I was in my twenties, I played in a Laser Tag league. Only in New Jersey. Laser Tag was just coming on to the recreational entertainment scene and I was talked into playing by a group of friends. Now you will have to take my word for it, as I now am an old, half-blind, overweight, not able to run to save my life woman, but back then I was half the woman I am now and I was agile and a really good shot. I wasn’t much of a team sport kind of girl. I didn’t play softball or basketball. I couldn’t make the track team. But by the time I was asked to join the laser tag team, I had endurance from working as a letter carrier at the post office with a walking route. I had experience shooting real guns at the firing range. And I was short and thin. That made me the perfect decoy!
The goal of the decoy was to draw fire from the other team in order to distract your opponent from the main thrust of your own team. This allowed your team to fulfill its mission. Hopefully, the decoy would escape with little to no harm to his or her person but it was considered an acceptable risk to meet the team’s objective. I had quite a good record as a decoy. More times than not I escaped with only minor hit points. There were a few times however where I was ” killed” in the game. Sometimes my team won the game, sometimes we didn’t, but we always played to win.
In real life, it takes a very special type of person to take on the role of decoy. Not many would willingly risk their lives for another, teammates or not. But that is exactly what we should be willing to do. If you look at nature you can see plenty examples of predators. They don’t pick off the strong and healthy but the weak. Some prey animals realize this and form protective circles around the young, elderly, and injured to ensure their safety. But more often than not the prey animals work together to isolate the weak, the young, the elderly, the outcast. Once alone they are easily turned into food and are no more.
The church should be a protecting circle but too often we leave the weak, lonely, and injured out of our circle and they become easy pickings for the enemies around us. Sometimes they are assimilated into outcast groups, safe for the moment but ultimately lost from God. Most times, they are left to face the enemy alone. In Psalm 41:1-2 it says” Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them—they are counted among the blessed in the land—he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.” We need a few more decoys in the church! We need some nimble, well armed, men and women of God willing to take a little fire to bring the “prey” into the fold. Then we need the church to “circle up” and surround these “easy pickings” until they can stand up to the enemy. It isn’t an easy task but we are called to do just that.
So which are you? Are you “easy pickings”? If so, you need to find a circle and get in it. If they don’t want to let you in, remind them that it’s their job to do so. It’s what Jesus would do. Or maybe you are part of the circle? Hold up your end and defend the weak. Or perhaps are you a decoy? That’s a tough position to be called to, but if its your calling, do it with your whole being. You may take fire but you are valuable and needed to fulfill the mission, God’s mission to save the lost. It’s a holy mission! Are you prepared for the fire?