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Pro Football, Pastoral Care and Christian Leadership

Tom Brady

Tom Brady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:

 11  Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14  Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT)

It was one of the worst games that I have seen Tom Brady play in 14 years.

Two of his rookie wide receivers drop 17 passes between them  Besides one veteran returning from injury, only six passes of 26 were caught in the game.  It was frustrating, obviously so.  Even the fact that they beat a nemesis didn’t take away the sting that this game was just…. ugly.

An espn article quotes Brady after the game…

“It’s unrealistic for them to feel like they can do it like 10-year veterans. That’s not what they are,” Brady said. “But they’re trying hard and they work real hard and they have a lot of skill.”

As I thought about the game that night, and yesterday, I saw some great applciation to ministry.  Especially to the very unique combinaiton of pastoral care and how that makes Christian Leadership somewhat different than Leadership in the world.

Yousee, in the real world – you play that badly, and you will get cut, or you will lose your starting position, until you can demonstrate some level of trustworshiness. Until you can prove you can get the job done.  In business, you might just get fired.  Some coaches and bosses can be quite callous about that. They would just get rid of you.. no questions to be asked.  Here’s your last check, and don’t let the door hit you on the…

Some would even argue that the Patriots owe it to their fans – and especially to Tom Brady, one of the best qb’s in history, if not the best, to get rid of these guys and get him some real football players.

But Christian leaders have another level of responsibility.  They aren’t just called to develop the good people, they are called to equip all the people of God.  Including those that, how can we say it, mmove at a different pace than the rest?   

It’s unrealistic to expect people not to fail in their walk with God.  It is unrealistic to expect them to grow at the same rate; to comprehend to the same depth, that all would awlays trust God, as completely, as deeply…

Yet i think that’s what we sometimes do, I know that is how most Bible Studies are written, as if every congregation, and every Bible study, and every confirmation class developed in the same way.  And we are trained to use them, right out of the box from the publisher – hand out the individual books – and get the study down in 13 weeks.

If people drop the pass, if they miss a week – wel, that’s their fault, and that one or two truths.. they aren’t that important.  Are they?  That odd question from the back right of the “classroom” – the one that opens a very special can of tangental worms… requiring a half-hour deviation?  Just skip it – deal with it privately.  Right?

No – we can’t expect everyone to get everything, to know it all, to not have a bad week, a bad game.  We are called to be patient, and to let our desire that no one perish determination our actions and thoughts, rather than just our frustration  We – pastors, ministers, priests, vicars, deacons, elders, and every other leader in church, are called to lead by serving.   To lead sacrificially, to lead like Christ did… bearing our cross.  To love them, knowing what it will take to get them to grow in faith, and in their being set apart to walk with God.

Leadership in  the church, and among Christian leaders is more like the USMC – we don’t leave anyone behind…. even if that requires the impossible.

Why?  Because we got the win, its assured, Christ is victorious, and therefore those with Him are as well. so let’s take our time – and work with everyone whom God brings ( or sends us out to go get)  If it means things gets dirty and ugly and frustrating, there is a win at the end of the game.  So we do what we do, fixing our eyes on Christ – the one who generated and perfected our faith in God.

The announcers both expressed a confidence during the game that was longer reaching than just the game.  They said, that by the end of the season, Brady will have transformed these two young receivers into a weapon that couldn’t be stopped.   If a mere man, playing a game can do that…. what can God do with and through us?

Let’s find out!

Give me this victory – over any other…

Devotional/Discussion of the day…

I am, without hesitation… an avid sports fan.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the highlights of my favorite Patriots this day, and I even enjoyed watching other teams – as they do their best, seeing the games which speak of the training they endured, the pain, the sweat, the preparation….

Yet, those are but games…. the victory not comparable to another victory, another one where pain was endured,  Here is how one pastor/priest

The Lord’s triumph, on the day of the Resurrection, is final. Where are the soldiers the rulers posted there? Where are the seals that were fixed to the stone of the tomb? Where are those who condemned the Master? Where are those who crucified Jesus?… He is victorious, and faced with his victory those poor wretches have all taken flight. Be filled with hope: Jesus Christ is always victorious. (1)

As we worked through Romans 6:1-11 this morning in Bible Study,we see why this victory is more important than any other….why it means more to me than every Boston team winning every championship for decades….

Because while a Pats/Bruins/Celtic/Red Sox domination of pro sports would bring a smile to my face… the victory of Christ, for me and every believer, is personal.

What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not! 2 How can we who died to sin yet live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. 5 For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. 7 For a dead person has been absolved from sin. 8 If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. 10 As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. 11 Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:1-11 (NAB)

That’s why this is the best victory – dead to sin, and alive to Christ.  Nothing – nothing – in all creation… tops this victory… perio
That is why St. Paul will say… When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (NLT)

Remember that victory, when you can remember no other….

 

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2428-2432). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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