Fumbles will affect everyone

Posted By | September 12, 2016 6:28 am

By Macil Duncan, Gum Springs Baptist Church

Some people are crazy, committed football fans. I read about a man surprised to see an empty seat at the Super Bowl stadium. This diehard fan remarked about it to a man sitting nearby.

“It was my wife’s seat,” the man explained, “But she died.”

“I’m very sorry,” said the fan. “Yet I’m really surprised that another relative, or friend, didn’t jump at the chance to take the seat reserved for her.”

“Beats me,” he said. “They all insisted on going to the funeral today.”

Just a preacher’s joke, but some people are addicted to the game of football.

Take the NFL, for example. They have 32 teams, and they have a net yearly value average at $104 billion for each franchise. Each stadium seats an average of 80,000 people who pay $200- $200,000 to watch a game. Each game played costs an average of $55 million for us to watch – 22 men being paid $7-$16 million a year to dispute the possession of a ball that costs less than $20. The football is the cheapest part of the whole game and yet the most important. The prize on the football field is that cheap piece of leather and the location of it at the time your team controls it.

Rain or shine, hot or cold weather, that $20 piece of leather with air in it must be controlled and held onto if you want to win. If you let it slip or drop, this is called a FUMBLE, and if you have ever played, coached or just a fan of the game, you know that a fumble changes everything. All 22 players have assignments – 11 on defense and 11 on offense. They have competed for their position against their peers. They have trained and practiced their role and strategy to be ready to play four quarters. Then the mistake that changes everything is when the football is mishandled and is dropped onto the field unsecured. At that point, everyone stops their assignments to secure the loose ball. All the hard work and effort is on hold as everyone is trying to secure that oblong ball as it bounces and rolls. A fumble affects everyone involved! Fumbles by the highest paid players are many times the highest criticized because of the investments made to train players how to hold onto the ball. Von Miller of the Broncos is this past year’s Super Bowl 50 MVP by basically dominating the game, but the strip fumble from Cam Newton that was recovered for a touchdown changed the game. Von is now the highest paid defensive player in football history, and he owes a lot of it to his famous fumble tackle. Fumbles are game changers and they affect everyone.

Life is like the game of football in that we all receive training/coaching through parenting, mentoring and education. As we grow from child to teenager, then into young adulthood and slowly mature into a senior adult, we fumble at times and make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can embarrass your team, family, church or business. The Bible tells us that when someone fumbles or makes a mistake that it can have an impact on others. Adam and Eve’s original sin impacts us today with childbirth pain and farming being hard work. You might feel that fumbles automatically makes you a loser. Do you know who has lost the most fumbles in NFL history with 166? Brett Farve, the Super Bowl winner, MVP, as well as the league MVP.

As a former football player, I fumbled the ball in a game, and it cost our team the go-ahead touchdown. My coach benched me, but as I sat out several plays, the other team had marched to the goal line. He grabbed my face mask and told me to redeem myself and stop them. He sent me in as middle linebacker, and I anticipated the snap count, jumped over the center and nailed the runner and caused a fumble we recovered that sent us into overtime. Yes, I was the hero for a mini second, but sadly, we lost in overtime. I did feel redeemed and forgiven by my coach and teammates. The satisfaction of being able to make up for your mistake is priceless.

As Christians, we are going to fumble at times. There is not a worse feeling than to drop the ball in life and cause others you care about not to reach victory. Sadly, within the church, we are guilty of practicing un-forgiveness at times. Proverbs 18:19 tells us “a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a citadel (fortress).” In Hebrew “brother” can also be translated “fellow countrymen” or basically family member. The Hebrew meaning for “offended” is “pasha” that can be translated transgression or committed rebellion. A fumble or mistake can make some people committed against you for they are so offended that they want to cause you harm like an enemy would. Fumbles affect everyone, and, sadly, some are hurt deeper than others by mistakes more than we know.

Christian, the world is watching. We are to forgive those that fumble in our lives. Jesus was asked how many times do I forgive a fumbler? Should I forgive them seven times Lord? Then Jesus said,” seventy times seven,” we are to forgive (that is 490 for those reaching for their smart phones). Jesus goes even further and tells us to forgive our enemies. Matthew 5:44 tells us, ““But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” The lost world cannot understand this kind of love that helps us forgive the ones that are the meanest and most unkind to us. Just like a fumble, forgiveness affects everyone!

The biggest fumble you can make in life as a Christian is to be unforgiving. Even Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

In Super Bowl XXVII, Leon Lett fumbled on Thanksgiving Day and cost the Dallas Cowboys a win in front of the nation. Although he helped them win three Super Bowls, many only remember him for the famous fumble. Today, Lett is an assistant coach and says that one mistake defined him so much that there were people that constantly reminded him of his famous failure.

Dear Christian, be like Jesus and call out to your heavenly Father on behalf of those that offended you and forgive them. By securing the fumble you are allowing the Holy Spirit that lives in you to declare possession so that you can teach another fumbler about Jesus. David said in Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. … 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. 13 THEN I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.”

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