Sweat dripped down the center’s arm as he grabbed the ball. He looked straight ahead at the defensive man lined up directly across from him. Not only was the nose tackle ugly, his breath was pretty funky, too! The quarterback began calling out his signals, “Down, set, HUT!” Immediately pandemonium broke out as the center snapped the ball back. The left guard groaned as his upper body locked up with the helmet and shoulder pads of the blitzing linebacker. The right tackle looked up and realized that the man he was to block was going to beat him. In desperation he lunges at the man’s legs, hoping to slow him down and keep him from messing up the play.
At the snap of the ball, the wide receivers took off straight downfield. This wasn’t going to be a pass play, they were merely decoys. The halfback took a stutter step to the right, then quickly dove straight for the quarterback. As the quarterback slammed the ball into his gut, the halfback ran behind the ample backside of his pulling guard. As he exploded through the hole, he quickly sized up the defense and realized that this was going to be a long run, his blockers had executed perfectly.
Welcome to football.
If ever a game called for teamwork, it is football. Eleven players per side, and each one is important. On every play there are many things that can go wrong, and each one of them can wreck the entire play. One missed block, one misstep, and everything can go downhill pretty quick. And on film day the coach will point out every mistake you made.
On every team there are guys who will try their hardest on every play and in every practice. There are also guys who will coast through everything and then wonder why they don’t play.
As a coach, I had little tolerance for players who don’t hustle and give their all. I made sure that each player was put in a position to succeed. Some will, some won’t. If they do or don’t, it will be because of the effort they put forth. As a coach, I will take a player with less talent who hustles and tries over a player with tons of talent but won’t try.
An offensive lineman’s job is not a glorious one. If he ever touches the ball it will be because somebody made a mistake. His job is to knock the snot out of other guys and move them out of the way. It’s a lot of fun, but you don’t get a lot of notice from the stands for doing it.
The runners and the quarterbacks notice when the linemen do their job. They also notice, usually painfully, if they don’t. Without the linemen, the quarterback, receivers, and running backs couldn’t do their jobs. There would be eleven tacklers waiting to stick them every time they get the ball.
Churches work the same way.
Everybody notices the worship leader, or the pastor, or the soloist. But as a pastor, the people who set up communion for me each month are just as important to me as the others. Their work frees me to worry about other needs and take better care of my flock.
When I was in high school, a man named Larry Murphy attended our church. I don’t think I ever heard him sing a solo. He rarely spoke in front of the church, but he was vital to the church’s ministry. What did Murph do? Whatever needed to be done, that’s what. He never had a title, he never held an office. He just did whatever he could do to help his pastor.
This post is a call for each of us to become the MVP of our church. The Most Valuable Parishioner! Become the kind of person your pastor just can’t do without. He’ll appreciate it, and your life will be enriched. You may never get your name printed in the bulletin, or stand on the platform, but come film day in Heaven, God will show you how He noticed all that you did. Isn’t that the best reward anyway?
Sweating in the trenches… Jerry