Monday, March 10, 2008

football + hardwork= pastoring!?

My son, a few of his team mates and I, drove to Tampa this past Saturday. It was "Junior Day" at the University of South Florida (USF) and he had been officially invited to attend. He is actively being recruited by them, along with numerous other D-1 college football programs. These are heady days for him as he begins to enjoy the fruit of much of the unseen, and generally unrewarded and intense labor he has put into training to become a prime athlete. They are heady days for me as well! Not purely for the reasons you might think, though I am as proud as a pea (artistic alliteration license) to see my son accomplishing his dreams and desires, but more because of the lessons in church planting that I am learning from watching him.

Like working to earn a D-1 football scholarship, pastoring a church is hard work! Much of it is done in obscurity and what is seen by others is open to criticism and judgment even by people who don't know you, or for that matter, know anything about what they're criticizing. The rewards though, are literally and figuratively "out of this world." Nothing gets my adrenalin pumping quite like seeing someones life tangibly changed by an encounter with Jesus, knowing that I, in some small way played a part in that. But, like football, the work has only just begun. In football, a scholarship doesn't earn you the right to rest on your laurels, but in fact really begins the process of football becoming "your job." A full-ride scholarship is tantamount to being paid a salary for going to school and in return you work your b*** off to ensure that you justify your "pay" whether you feel like it or not.

As a pastor, introducing people to Jesus is only the first step in the life-long process of coaching people to live life according to the dictates of the Scriptures. Even on your worst days, you can't "take the day off." I really enjoyed meeting the head coach and his coaching staff. They looked like they were having more fun than should be legally allowable, and they genuinely seemed to love what they do. I imagine being recruited by people like that must be a really good feeling. It sort of reminds me that I am privileged to serve the greatest Life-Coach of them all, as part of a team that touches the lives of the people that are nearest and dearest to His heart. So in the rugged, sometimes hectic days of pastoring, I remember my son and the price of accomplishing his dreams, and I'm quickly reminded as to why I do what I do. It's a real privilege to serve at The Well! What new lesson are you learning in your journey?


ST said...

One lesson I'm learning is that all too often, we wait until it's too late (eg we get a grim medical diagnosis) before we begin to live our lives out loud. I want to make every second count, live my life with purpose and create a legacy that will outlive me by a long shot. I want to make a ripple, even if all I have is a little puddle!

Joey said...

Well said Joseph. Thanks! Thanks for coming to my spin class, glad you enjoyed it!