Some friends invited me to accompany them to the “Red River Shootout”—the Texas-Oklahoma college football game (thanks Kevin, Nathan and Jonathan).
Now my football allegiance goes to another team in red (which doesn’t win as often as Oklahoma) but Texas-Oklahoma is a classic. And it was a great chance to spend time with friends I don’t see often.
We were seated with Oklahoma’s fans on their end of the field. I discovered that they aren’t particularly fond of Texas, and I was glad my friends in their orange shirts and caps were big enough to defend us all.
Actually, the fans in front of us were super nice and we chatted during the game. The ladies behind us, though, had evidently been raised by wolves or drunken sailors. That’s another Coffee Stain for some other day.
I was amazed to watch Oklahoma’s team in warm-ups. When the quarterbacks threw to their receivers I didn’t see one dropped ball. I wasn’t always paying attention, of course, but the quarterbacks were sharp and the receivers outstanding.
When the game started, though, it wasn’t always like that. On one play, I think the Texas defensive back was off somewhere eating a hamburger because the Oklahoma receiver was all by himself. He might have caught cold, he was so open.
And the quarterback threw a pitiful pass and the receiver missed a possible touchdown. I could have hit that man he was so wide open. Maybe.
Lets’ stop a minute. Why was the quarterback so good in practice while in the game, he couldn’t hit a wide-open player?
In warm-ups there were no 300-pound defensive linemen bearing down on him like enraged rhinoceroses (that is the plural form of the word, by the way. I was leaning toward rhinoceroseri, but no).
Four times three hundred pounds of mad football player trying to kill you can affect your aim.
Well, both quarterbacks got it together and completed the majority of their passes but not 100% of them.
Sunday Morning Quarterbacks
It kind of reminds me of church on Sunday morning. We’re there when the pastor preaches or the worship leader repeats his worship phrase 36 times (sorry guys and girls. Couldn’t resist).
“Amen! Preach On! Praise the Lord!” We look good. We smell good. For an hour and a half we ARE good.
Monday morning, though, we have a tendency to drop a few.
–The boss gives the job you applied for to one of his friends.
–We’re late and we scream at our husband/wife/kids/the fellow in the other car/the dog, etc.
–An unexpected bill comes in the mail and we panic.
–Something bad happens and we get mad at God. “If God exists, why did He let that happen?”
–Or, “Do you know what she said about you?”
There goes our peace.
thousand other challenges can cause us to drop the ball. When the game gets going on Monday and those 300-pound “devils” aim to crush us, it’s a bit harder to do it the way we did in “practice” on Sunday morning.
Someone remarked, “When you are up to your elbows in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.”
How To Do It In the Game
So what do you do?
Settle down and do life right. Put God’s Word into action. You’re not in church just to get brownie points from God. This is life and death. Learn, worship, encourage and pray for those around you.
Some folks could score 100% on a doctrinal test but they still can’t live life successfully. Your
doctrine has to change you, and flow from your life. Otherwise, it’s just an academic exercise.
“And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
“Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
‘Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:4-17 NLT).
God fills us with his Spirit and lives within us so that we can play life’s game the way we practice on Sundays. Don’t drop the ball. Get after it so that you will win the most important “game” of all.
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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