Football season is upon us. Games that used to be relegated to the weekends are now popping up throughout the week.
It’s how I misplace my husband till the Superbowl is over.
I do like the idea of football. Two teams working together to win a game. Everyone sacrificing life and limb on the playing field.
It all begins with the kick-off.
There can be no winner unless the game is played.
We just had our kick-off retreat for our new year of people and process. Fifty adults, with more than that many children, showed up, travel-weary, transition-wary, hesitantly hopeful of what the year will hold for them. They’re coming from all over the world, and now that all are here and mostly moved in, we begin at the beginning.
The similarities to football don’t end with the kick-off. What began as a gathering of individuals has become a team. Fifty players, all issued the outline of the game plan, were gathered for the initial pep talks. Players aren’t ranked on skill-sets but on availability and willingness to get in the game.
Without the fanfare of crowds and cheerleaders, our game has begun.
It’ll be played over the next ten months, where training and development will become woven into the playing schedule. Coaching will be essential–each player has a personal coach to walk them through new plays, new strategies, new game plans.
Having done this for several years, I know the end results. Not the specifics, but the big picture. This disjointed group of strangers will morph into a close-knit community with life-long relationships having been established.
A real team.
Football is a great metaphor for life. Transitions push us into new team modes, where adults and kids alike have to get to know the other players. Not all will get along like best friends, but each can have an appreciation for what others bring to the team.
There are scores and penalties in every game. Some people will accomplish more and may even appear to have the edge on winning game after game. Others find themselves penalized for mistakes they didn’t intend, for errors of judgment in how they proceeded.
What everyone needs to do, however, is be a participant.
It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize how a team is playing or question the intelligence of a coach for the plays he’s directing.
God didn’t make any of us spectators. He made us for the purpose of getting in the game and making a difference with who we are and what we have to offer the world around us.
We may not be top-ranked players. Some of us may struggle with making it on the field.
That’s the toughest part of the game plan. Showing up with a willing heart makes the most valuable player. Just as we are.
With Jesus, we never play alone. He coaches us through the toughest of plays.
And guarantees a win in the end.
Let’s get out there and play some life ball.