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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fire That Guy!

Here's some thoughts on a recent event for all you sports fans. But even if you hate sports, I think you'll get the idea. ;-)

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Raiders, of the NFL, decided to fire their head coach Lane Kiffin. Lane was the youngest head coach in the league, and had been hired only last year. He took over a team that everyone knew was terrible. But somehow, just a year and three months later he was to have transformed this team into something marvelous. At least that would be the perspective of owner Al Davis, who fired Kiffin just four games into this season.

What I find remarkable is the attitude behind this firing, already the second this year, which is now prevalent in our society. We live in a world that continually asks, "what have you done for me lately?" If the immediate results we are getting don't match our hopes or expectations, as lofty as they may be, we fire the guy and move on. Kiffin was fired with 75% of the season still to play. I wonder how many professional sport franchises have started poorly, only to have a late season resurgence and make the playoffs. Probably many. Unfortunately, Kiffin will never have that chance as he fell victim to our "I want it now" mind-set.

I wonder if we haven't unintentionally shifted some of this attitude to matters of faith. God exists eternally and unchanging in his purposes for us. And yet we can easily look to him and ask, "What have you done for me lately?" If we've recently been fired or laid off, watched a marriage go down in flames, or suffered some sort of tragic illness, we likely believe that God has let us down. "Well, He sure didn't help me there," we think, and we fire him. We fire God from his position as leader in our life and go in search of someone else who can get the job done.

I wonder how different the Bible would have been had the men and women of faith in it's pages shared this attitude. Joseph was sold as a slave and spent many years in prison before God's purposes were revealed in his life. A tyrant king tried to kill David no less than 7 times before God raised him to the throne. The apostle Paul was stoned and left for dead early in his ministry pursuits. And in each case, rather than dropping God from the team, these people recognized that God was still at work and bigger plans were being put in place. In the end, these people, and many like them, shaped the world with a steady faith in the goodness of God.

What has God done for you lately? Maybe a lot, and that's awesome. But maybe you feel like he hasn't done much at all. Defy culture. Stick with him and believe that his promises are worth waiting for. He is good, and we will see that in the end.

As for Lane Kiffin, I can only hope he has faith in someone higher than an NFL owner.

May you know today that the God of the universe journeys each step with you. Keep him around.

Nick

2 comments:

Melanee said...

Hi Nick~

I hope you don't mind your neighbor checking in on your blog from time to time. First of all, your posts are AWESOME. Second, I wholeheartedly agree with your About Me statement. Third, I'd like to share a quote with you I think goes along with this post.

This quote, which I really love, was written by a man named David C. Steinmetz. He teaches church history at Duke divinity school and wrote this in an article about Mother Teresa last fall in The Christian Century.

He was writing about Mother Teresa's life, and how after she died, it was discovered that she suffered from long bouts with depression as well as feelings that she was not accepted by God. Incredible, I think. The most moving part of this for me, was that even though she struggled, even though she doubted God's love for her, she kept pressing forward anyway. She DAILY did what she knew she needed to do in faith. She didn't wait to "feel like it" to do God's will, she just did it. Here's an excerpt of the quote.

"From time to time everyone endures a barren period in the life of faith. Prayers bounce off the ceiling unanswered. Hymns stick in one's throat, and whatever delight one once felt in the contemplation or worship of God withers away.

In such circumstances, Christians should do what is in them, that is, they should keep on keeping on. They should keep on with their prayers, their hymns of praise, and their daily rounds of duties. Even though it seems like they are walking through an immense and limitless desert, with oases few and far between, they plod on, knowing that obedience is more important than emotional satisfaction and a right spirit than a merry heart.

To such people, God does not deny Grace. They live in hope, however, that sooner or later the band will strike up a polka and the laughter and dancing will start all over again. But if it does not, and it did not in Mother Teresa's case--the grace that was in the beginning will be at the end as well. Of that, one can be sure."

Keep Shining and Sharing.

Pastor Nick said...

Melanee-

I'm honored that you find my stuff worth reading. You're always welcome! Thanks for the good thoughts.