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In a blast from the past this weekend, I ran into a few dads of kids from a youth football team my son, Jordan, played on in 2001. While names have been changed in this story to protect the innocent and guilt, alike, I’m pretty sure those involved will recognize the characters.

Corey was an unnaturally big kid for his age and was chosen to be the quarterback. He was naturally gifted with some athletic skill, but regardless, he was still a 5th grader with about 2 years experience under his belt. During every practice and every game, his step-dad would pace the sidelines shouting at him “Corey! You’re doing it wrong!” in as many words or more. Not only was this guy loud and obnoxious, but if he had any experience with football, it had most likely been back when he could still see his feet without a mirror.

Jason, on the other hand, was not the biggest kid, but what he lacked in size, he made up for in intensity. When he was on defense, you could count on him always being within a couple feet of the football. His dad would cheer him on from the sidelines, walking up and down the field, parallel with the team. If Jason missed a key tackle, a “shake it off!” could be heard, along with a word of encouragement when he came to the bench. A couple of times, I saw Jason and his dad working through some sort of technique or parent-son coaching off to the side.

My clearest memory of the season came from near the end of the season. After fumbling the ball and weathering a verbal tirade of “you’re doing it wrong” from the sideline, Corey walked to the sideline, drop-kicked his helmet and walked off in disgust. Meanwhile, I overheard Jason’s dad nearby telling his son “don’t worry about it – we’ve got to deal with what we’re dealt”.

What a teachable moment this was for my son, and for others there on the field.

How often do we see Christians standing back, watching other Christians out there – actually making a difference in their community and/or the world – and the best they can muster is a backbiting cry of “you’re doing it wrong!”?

On the other hand, we have the words of Paul to the church in Galatia:

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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This came to mind this morning, as I talked to a friend of mine in church. He ran in a 4-mile race yesterday, finishing in less than 30 minutes. He told me about another runner who passed him early in the race. With about a half a mile to go, my friend started up a hill to the home stretch when he caught up with the other runner, who seemed to be struggling. He matched the man’s pace and said “why don’t we help each other on?” With that, both runners picked up their pace, pushing themselves as fast as they could go, with their bodies already aching. At the finish line, they both crossed at the exact same instant. My friend’s comment was “I never would have finished in such a good time if he hadn’t been there to help me on, and he could have said the same thing about me”.




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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 30th, 2007 at 6:45 pm and is filed under Lessons, Religion/Philosophy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. CRN.Info and Analysis » Sports Story Sunday (Part I) on September 30, 2007 6:46 pm

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