It was with great joy and satisfaction that I sat down on Saturday afternoon and watched two football games. I enjoy watching football. I enjoy the athleticism involved, the strategy, even the talent it requires to referee a game. I’ve discovered I really enjoy the game a lot more if it is between two teams to whom I’m not emotionally attached! For as much as I enjoy the game, there is a growing trend that disturbs me. When a touchdown is scored, the player carrying the ball over the goal line now often struts around pointing to himself and using other means to show his superiority and his ability to score. Granted, they have to have some ability and talent and many of them are very gifted. However, they are not the only player on the field. They would not have been able to score a touchdown had not ten other players made it possible; handing them the ball, passing the ball to them, blocking for them, drawing defensive players away from them, nobody committing a foul, the coach calling the right play, and more. They don’t score on their own, ever.
Truth be told, I tend to forget that myself. There have been countless people through the course of my life who have called the right play for me, coached me, given me the ball, blocked for me, diverted danger away, cleared a path, helped me learn from mistakes, and cheered me on. It’s so easy to stand on an accomplishment and feel victorious and proud, yet rarely are we there only because of our own ability and power. In fact, at the very basic level we take a breath because God has given life to us.
This single observation, that we do nothing on our own, should move us to gratitude. We should be thankful to the Almighty for giving us life, loving us, and providing for us physically and spiritually. We should be thankful for the multitudes that have helped us get through life and succeed.
But this single observation should also move us to appreciate the impact that we have on one another and the importance of a community of faith that genuinely works as a team for the sake of the team and not a single individual.
What might the church look like if we were filled with true gratitude to God and one another? What might happen if we thought about us instead of me at the church? Something tells me it would be very different.
David S. Naglee