As fall approaches, I begin to hear talk of college football, and I often reminisce about my football days. I think about how much I had enjoyed playing (in games mostly…I was not so fond of the practices). Then I begin to feel a little sorry for myself about the fact that most organized football teams are not looking for men in their mid 30’s who haven’t played in nearly 20 years, so my chances ever to play competitive ball again are all but gone. Then, I remember an evening when I met number 88. While officiating a ball game, the score was well in hand for the visiting team, and number 88 took the field, accompanied by his coach. He couldn’t walk very well, and his speech was quite slurred. But for two kickoffs and several defensive plays, he was out there with his teammates winning the game. I learned afterward that it was number 88’s dream to play football, and he was living it.
As I signaled second down that evening with a tear in my eye, I felt pretty shallow ever to have been complaining to myself about my inability to play ball anymore. God blessed me with a fully functional body and communication skills, and I’d had the chance to run and play and enjoy that aspect of my youth. And here was a child who was so limited physically, and whose dream was merely to be on the team and perhaps stand on the field for a couple of downs.
What if we all used our skills and abilities as fully and exhaustively as number 88 does? What if when we weren’t “equipped” to do something for God, we determined that we would just work at it until we were able? The one who was not good at memorizing Scriptures would just work harder so that they could have that important knowledge (II Tim 2:15). The one who was not a good singer would work on their singing instead of sitting in the pew with their mouth closed (Eph 5:19). Those who don’t feel equipped to teach the gospel to the lost would refuse to let their self-perceived inadequacies make them neglect their responsibility. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24). How much stronger would the church be if each member possessed the resolve of number 88 to do what needed to be done?—Darrell Powell