Running the play like it’s called

The football team in my state recently released their former starting running back. To some fans, this seemed like a surprise, because the team had been saying that this was their guy. At the beginning of the season, he looked liked “the guy.” He ran hard, ran solid, and gained good yardage. But as the season went on, his production began to decline. He was replaced by a rookie and let go shortly thereafter. So what went wrong? Well, it seems that the team no longer trusted what he would do once he got the ball. Apparently, he wasn’t running plays like they were called. Rather than hitting the gap and fighting through contact for a few yards, he was bouncing to the outside, spinning, avoiding, running out of bounds. He was relying more on his judgement than on the play call by the coach. This ultimately led to his dismissal.

Hand drawing a game strategy with white chalk on a blackboard.

As a coach, it’s important that the players run the plays that you have drawn up. The coach generally has an idea of how he or she is trying to approach the game. And as a player, you have got to trust your coach. You need to run the play like it’s called. At my daughter’s soccer award night, the coach mentioned that when my daughter started catching on to the plays as called, she started scoring more. It’s true! She listened to the coaches’ instructions and had multiple games where she scored more than one goal. She simply just had to run the play like it was called.

Which brings me to Exodus 40:16 Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him.

This was the marker of Moses’ life. He ran the play like it was called. Over and over again, we read this statement regarding Moses. He did it the way God told him to. Moses wasn’t in danger of being cut from the team. He wasn’t going to lose his job. There weren’t any trust issues. Moses just ran the plays that God called. 

So how am I running the plays that God gives me? I can’t say I have the same track record as Moses did, but I am certainly trying. Reading that simple verse today challenges me. It challenges me to obedience when the Lord instructs. But it also challenges me to seek the Lord for the play in the first place. The truth is, that in life, I am sometimes just running around the field with no direction. But when I go to the Lord, He dials up the right play for me to run. The rest is up to me. Will I doubt? Or will I simply run the play like it’s called? I hope I run the play.

What about you?

 

Labels

I’m not a huge fan of labels. Ok, let me clarify. When I go shopping, a price label is a good thing. When I receive a package from UPS, I take a look at the label to see who it is from. When I am at an art store, the label helps me know what exactly the artist was attempting to convey with the painting. (I’m not much of a connoisseur, so the description helps.) So when I say I’m not a huge fan of labels, I’m really talking about labels that apply to people.

labelsweb

Let’s be honest; labels on people generally have a negative connotation. We don’t necessarily label people as “awesome” or “outstanding.” Instead, we label them as lazy, arrogant, self-centered, indifferent, annoying… should I stop? Those are the kind of labels that we put on people. It seems that God labels people, too. But it’s not in the way you think.

Exodus 39:30-31 They made the plate, the sacred emblem, out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. 31 Then they fastened a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban, as the Lord commanded Moses. 

So here’s how it went down: they made this “holy to the Lord” label and fastened it to the garments of the priests. Now that’s a good label! Let it be known that God calls me holy! Watch out people, I’m holy to the Lord. It’s written right here on my uniform. That makes it true.

1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” You are chosen. You are a priest. You are a holy nation. You know what that means? It means you get to wear the uniform with the label, too.

God looks at you, His son or His daughter, and proclaims out over you: “HOLY!” You have been marked. You have been labeled. You have been set apart for the purposes of God. Wear your badge proud, my friends. Because the God of the universe sees you as holy. So be holy. Set your heart on it, set your mind on it. In fact, set your whole life on it. After all, Jesus set his whole life of attaining that holiness for you.

More than enough

Recently, I was shopping at Costco with my son. When we got home, I asked him to help me unload the car. There were lots of things to bring in so I handed him a box to carry. He told me that he could carry more than that, so I gave him more. Then I gave him more and more. “That’s enough,” he told me. The truth is, it was more than enough! He started laughing at the hilarious sight he knew he was, and attempted to carry in this tower of boxes.  He almost made it, too. It was when he tried to set them down that they all came crashing. We had a good laugh.

too-many-boxes

As I was reading Exodus 36 today, that picture of my son carrying the boxes came to mind. You see, Moses had been collecting offerings in order to build the tabernacle. People were so generous and just kept giving and giving. It was awesome! Then this happened:

Exodus 36:4-7  So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more,because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

Moses, please tell the people to stop giving; we have too much! Can you even imagine a scenario in your life where this is the case? This is some pretty extreme generosity. You see, the people saw the need and wouldn’t rest until it was met. How awesome is that? They not only gave enough, but they gave more than enough!

I’m not so good and giving more than enough. Don’t get me wrong, giving is awesome. It’s really cool to get to help someone meet their needs. I don’t mind buying someone lunch. But the Israelites not only bought lunch, they went for dessert, too. That’s some extreme generosity!

All this causes me to reflect on my own heart of generosity. Do I give of my time and my resources up to the point I am comfortable giving? Do I look first at what I can spare and give that? Or am I like the people of Exodus who just keep on giving to the point of overwhelming someone with extreme blessing?  The truth is, I’ve never been told to stop because I was too generous. The truth is, I tend to look at what I am lacking instead of what have. But the people of Israel didn’t let that stop them, nor did it stop the church in Corinth. In fact 2 Corinthians 8:2 says “their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” 

With our generosity, God can take poverty and turn it into richness. He can take the very little we have and overflow us with joy as we give. I am challenged today to be more giving. As we enter this season of giving, let’s be mindful that no one has probably ever told us to stop giving. Until that happens, there’s room to grow our generosity.

 

The willing ones

It can be fun to give. There’s been times I have given to someone or something and really enjoyed it. There’s also been times where I have given and it didn’t feel fun at all. In fact, I wasn’t even remotely happy about it. I’m sure some of that had to do with whether or not it felt like an obligation. But it also probably had something to do with my willingness. And maybe my attitude. Maybe.

Exodus 35:29 All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the Lord freewill offerings for all the work the Lord through Moses had commended them to do.

Apparently, only the willing people gave. The ones who were hesitant, stingy, and greedy didn’t give. Nope. Only the willing ones. Now look closely here, it doesn’t say, only the rich ones. It doesn’t say, only the ones who had excess. It says the willing ones. And in this case, the offerings brought by the willing ones was enough to get the work done.

use-me

Doesn’t that seem to be the way God works? He works with the willing ones. When there is a great work to be done, He doesn’t drag people into it. He doesn’t spend His time trying to convince the most talented and wealthy people to get involved. He simply uses the willing ones. The question I have for you today is this: are you a willing one? Will you be counted among those who did something great for God? Not because you had to. Not because you had all the resources in the world. Not because you had all the skills necessary. But simply because you were willing.

Be a willing one!