I never actually played football as I was growing up. Sure, I threw the ball with my friends in the neighborhood and played the occasional schoolyard game, but I never played organized ball with a team. It was one sport that was never available to me. None of the schools I attended offered it as an option. The only “football” available to students at Elkhart Baptist Christian School, Grace College, and Appalachian Bible College was of the literal variety, meaning it was actually played with the foot. Soccer was king at all three schools. While I have never had the privilege of playing football, I have developed a deep appreciation for it. I love the game of football.
It’s artistry with an awesomely bad attitude!
There is a certain artistry to the game of football. The level of individual and corporate coordination required to achieve success on the field is incredible. Players often move with the grace and precision one would expect from a dancer in a ballet. It is not uncommon during the course of a game to see 300+ pound linemen twist and turn their way around other equally large individuals, or to see a 6’ 4” wide receiver or cornerback jump unimaginably high into the air to catch the ball all while repositioning his body in order to assure that the tips of his toes come down in the field of play, or to see a 200+ pound running back tip toe delicately along the side line in order to evade would be tacklers. Of course, reality comes crashing into view when another massive human comes knocks the delicacy right out of the moment. It’s artistry with an awesomely bad attitude!
As I watched a game recently I found myself fixated on one play made by the quarterback. The ball was snapped and a flurry of motion began all around him. As the play was developing down field, a freight train of a man spun into the open and came barreling at the quarterback. At that moment he had three options available. He could drop to the ground in surrender, scramble around and hope for another opportunity, or stand firm and make the play. In this particular instance, the quarterback stepped forward and made a perfect pass to a teammate in the end zone. He took a massive hit, but he made the play in the process.
There have been times in my life, as a follower of Jesus, when I have felt a lot like that quarterback. As I have stepped out and shared the truth that has been entrusted to me, I have found myself staring ahead as opposition comes charging at me. I am fully aware that I will probably take a hit, and that it will be unpleasant and painful. I would argue, based on what I read throughout the Bible, that all of us will find ourselves in this situation from time to time. And much like that quarterback, we have a choice to make…
And much like that quarterback, we have a choice to make…
Drop to the ground in surrender. Often this feels like the best option. Just give up on this opportunity and live to play another day. But, what would lead us to believe that the next opportunity will be any easier? I firmly believe that wherever God is moving, opposition will follow. Giving up in this moment will not prevent the difficulty of the next.
Scramble around and hope for another opportunity. There are times when this is a viable option, but it is somewhat of a crap-shoot and it doesn’t remove the threat of taking a hit. Wherever we run, the opposition will follow.
Stand firm and make the play. I believe we need to take full advantage of every opportunity that is given to us. From time to time, this will mean standing firm in the face of fierce opposition and taking a hit for the gospel. But, if we believe the gospel to be true, it should be more than worth it in the end.
I believe that each of us have been entrusted with the truth of the gospel. I believe that it is the hope of the world and the key to true and full life. It is our job to pass this life altering truth on to any who are willing to receive it. This requires a great deal of vulnerability. It requires us to take a stand for what we believe in. And, at times, it requires us to take a hit in order to make the play.