Before the professional football season starts, each team plays four games which don’t count towards the team’s season record. The ‘preseason,’ as it’s called, is a time for many players to work their way onto the team, to prove they’re fast enough and strong enough to play at the highest level. Coaches use the four game stretch to push the players, cutting the ones who make mistakes in stressful situations. Could you handle this type of pressure?
As the coaching staff cuts the passionate but less talented players, despite the childhood dreams they shatter, the football fans rarely pass judgment, after all, they want the best players on the team, too. This difficult process works for football, and may even be necessary, but what about with God? In this life, are we running endless drills on the field desperately trying to prove to God we’re tough and talented enough? Or does God run His team very, very differently?
Psalm 147:10-11 says this of God: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” Interesting. God isn’t looking for the best or brightest, but for those who fear Him and rest completely in His love.
Proverbs 17:3 says, “The crucible is or silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” As football coaches test a player’s skills, God tests our hearts. Remember, when the prophet Samuel was looking for the new king of Israel, the Lord told him, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as a man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
In football terms, God wants a team full of players with a passionate heart for Him. God sees the bigger, faster, and stronger athletes, the ones with an impressive list of accomplishments, the players who have the super-high confidence we wish we had – and He passes on them. He passes on them in favor of you and I, the ones often overlooked in a crowd because we don’t run forty yards in 4.3 seconds or always show up on the highlight reel, but try to love and respect God with all our heart.
Do you feel a little awkward and not certain of your place in this world? That’s, okay, because on God’s team, if you’ll bring the heart, He’ll find a place for you. Do you have a long history of making mistakes? That’s fine, too, for God, through His Son Jesus Christ will show you exactly how to play and win. What do you think? Do you have the heart? If you do, good news, you’ve made the team.