Well, it’s football season again and a blog post like this was inevitable for me. I love watching football (and from her Facebook post, my wife is entertained by watching ME as I watch football). It is, therefore, a natural progression for me to equate my own life situations to said game. Today I’m talking about 3rd down and the decisions we face – BUT DON’T STOP READING YET! It really is something I think we can all relate to.
Here’s what I mean from a life perspective. There are times when we hit a wall or come to place where we can just get bogged down. It might be an ongoing issue in our family or in our relationships. It might be struggles at work or even in the church. The question is, what do we do in those moments? What’s the best thing to do – do we push ahead with a final burst of energy? Or, do we reset, step back and start over?
In football terms it’s the issue of a 3rd down play (you only get 4 tries to make 10 yards, so on 3rd down you have one more try to make it to the ‘line’ that gives you a new set of downs – 4 more). So, if the football team has 3rd down and 3 yards to go they have a choice to make. They can “go for it” and try to bring forth a great burst of energy, or, they can punt the ball sending it down field and hope for a new chance to begin again later. It’s the choice between a “big push” and a “do-over.”
I find myself facing similar decisions in life. The reality is that sometimes life gets tough and things begin to stack up against you. There’s turmoil and things aren’t really moving forward well. In those cases we end up with two choices – either reach down deep and come up with a burst of energy that helps us break through the wall, or back up, reset our thinking and try going a new direction.
You can actually find both examples in Scripture. For the “big push” look to the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). The Israelites and Philistines are at a standstill. The people of God can’t seem to get past this “problem” until David comes with a great burst of energy and an even greater burst of faith. He helps break through the obstacle. For the “do-over” you could turn to Matthew 10:5-14. Jesus sends out his disciples and tells them that it’s okay to “shake the dust off your feet and move on” when you can’t make any headway with the people you encounter. He doesn’t tell them to try harder, he just says, “move on and keep going.”
So, Pastor Mike, what do you suggest I do if I’m facing 3rd and a long 3 right now (i.e., you’re up against a real challenge)? Well, honestly, I don’t know. You and God will have to work through that. It’s one of those times when you may need to call a time out and confer with the coach. It may be one of those times when you need to spend time with God in prayer and listening.
The point I want to make right now is this – either way is biblical. Whichever way you prayerfully choose to go, God goes with you. Sure, there my be some Monday morning quarterbacks who would second guess you, but your heavenly coach will back you 100%. Have no fear. Make your move. God will get you through it. I am willing to bet you might even win the game.
Holy high-five to you,