Lessons from Football

 

Since moving to Dallas in the late 1960’s I have had a number of opportunities to interact with major players with the Dallas Cowboys. And the most memorable moments involved conversations with the late Tom Landry, who coached the Cowboys through their glory days as a Super Bowl team.

 

In recent years the team has struggled. However, this past season the team’s performance has exceeded everyone’s expectations. Reflecting on their recent success, I see some interesting parallels in Scripture.

 

First, the Bible describes the church using metaphors like “body,” “temple,” and “family” to show that we are a collection of individuals woven by God into a unit or team. The Scriptures also teach that our success hinges on our interaction with others as guided and directed by our “head coach,” Jesus Christ:

 

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12).

 

In terms of the Cowboys, they have become a unified team. They are committed to serving one another under the guidance of their coaching staff.

 

The Bible also describes how we become a part of Christ’s team. God invites us but doesn’t force us. We’re all “free agents.”

 

The Bible also refers to God’s invitation to us as being “called.” Further, that invitation is totally God’s decision—for reasons that He doesn’t reveal. As Jesus told the twelve apostles, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16a).

 

Referring to Christians in general, the apostle Paul added: “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

 

Football draft selection committees sometimes make poor decisions. But God has perfect knowledge of every person. Therefore we can be completely confident in our calling knowing that He has the desire and ability through Christ to give us victory over every obstacle. At the same time, He holds us responsible for how we perform. As I teach in my Life Essentials Study Bible, Principle #8 in Ephesians: “When we truly understand what God has done for all of us in Jesus Christ, we should respond by living godly lives in love and unity.”

 

For those who have yet to accept God’s invitation, I hope you will seize the opportunity to be part of His “holy huddle.” And for those already on the team, I pray that you will “make every effort to confirm your calling and election . . . ” (2 Peter 1:10). In this sense, God’s great culminating party—the marriage supper of the Lamb—will happen for all of us who are on God’s team!

 

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