Monday, December 13, 2010

Are You Scoring or Winning?

Unless you've lived here, you probably don't understand the influence of Texas High School Football. I grew up in Florida and thought high school football was big there. I lived in Western Pennsylvania where you couldn't find anyone in our small town on a Friday night when the local high school team was playing 'at home' unless you were also at the game. High school football has its draw in many states but none of which compares to what you find in Texas.

So most Friday nights in the Fall, we find ourselves in a local stadium watching young men play football that is often more exciting than college or some pro teams. No we don't have any kids still in school. Haven't had for years. And "no", we aren't the only ones in the stands that don't have a child in the band or on the team.

This year our team is once again in the hunt for the State Championship. We've had to play a few great teams along the way. We were undefeated going into the state quarter-final game where we played another undefeated team.

This game had some interesting facts two of which were:
  • Each team had only five penalty flags...a clean game where the refs let the boys play.
  • There were NO punts in the game.
"Our" team was the home team and the higher ranked team yet at the end of the first quarter we had turned the ball over twice and we were behind. By half-time we were holding on to the ball better and we were scoring but we were still losing. At the end of the third quarter, same story...we were behind and we were yet to have the lead in the game. With a mere three seconds left on the clock, we were behind 40-35. We had the ball and needed to move it about two yards to score a touchdown. A field goal would not be good enough. Three seconds. That means one chance to finally not only take the lead for the first time in the game but to WIN!

As we go through life, we keep score on many fronts. Am I ahead or behind my friends in education? Am I ahead or behind my friends in salary? Is my house better or worse than theirs? Have I advanced as far in my career as others have?

When we choose to live by principles and morals taught to us by our Loving Lord in the Bible, we often can be perceived as being behind in the game of life. The deeper we get into our years on Earth, we can be tempted to look back and say "wow, it looks like I lost out on the big wins in life". We can see others living in big houses, driving fancy cars, taking fabulous trips and never spending one minute loving our Lord and that can make one wonder how could I have played such a clean game and still be losing.

Let's get back to the play-off game. Our Trinity Trojan team had one play to go. One chance to get the ball in the end zone and win the game. Our boys ran a play that's a staple in their playbook and easily ran the ball across the goal line as time expired on the clock. With no time left, we took the only lead we ever had in the entire game. We took the lead at the only time it mattered. At the finish line.

You may feel that you are, or have been, behind your entire life. You are playing a clean game. You are living by Biblical principles. You've accepted our Loving Lord's free gift of Salvation and are giving Him your best. Yet things are not easy for you. Perhaps even tough times seem to be your best friend.

This life is temporary. The time on the game clock for your life will someday expire. Everything you've 'scored' on this earth will no longer matter. When you take the last snap for the last play of your life, if you cross the goal line with Christ as your savior, you will be the WINNER!!!!

What will you focus on? Are you set on making every score here on earth? Or are you storing up points for the eternal victory? If you've been focused only on winning earthly victories, will you pause and ask our Loving Lord to coach you on to the final goal line poised to win the ultimate championship?

Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 (Amplified Bible)  I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all