Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God.
- Hosea 1:94
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
- Matthew 25:41-43
“My least favorite part of coaching in the NFL was the day We had to cut the roster. As I’ve said before, you’d almost be willing to work on game day for free, but they couldn’t pay you enough to make cut day tolerable. Those cut players had become family in a way. Watching dreams dashed was tough, especially when you—as the head coach—were doing the dashing. You’d tell yourself it wasn’t the end of the line, but for so many guys, it actually was. Players who had been stars in high school and then college didn’t even reach training camp unless they were in the top one percent of everyone playing football in the United States.
“And often, even that wasn’t enough. They simply couldn’t be Colts any longer. Our roster size was limited, and they didn’t measure up.
“In Hosea, the Lord was in the same situation. He’d finally had enough of the people breaking the covenant He had made with them. In essence, He told Hosea, ‘I’m cutting them.’
“ ‘They are not my people.’ They are not measuring up.
“Of course, God is not talking about a continuing relationship with the Indianapolis Colts. He is talking about falling out of a relationship with Him, a break in the family ties. Pretty serious stuff to stop and think about.”
- Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life (Devotion for 14 August, emphasis (without bold and italics) the author’s)
I made it onto the football field in one game in my junior high, eighth-grade year. I was too small for half the positions on the field. I was too slow for the other half. And the coach, a Marine with a flat top hairdo only thought of the physical side of things.
We were playing the cross-town rivals, the players that would be our teammates in the tenth grade. The coach knew that they did not have anyone who was big enough to hurt me by simply sitting on me, so he put me in as the nose guard on defense.
Wait! That is where you put your biggest guy. But no, I had my one chance to prove that I belonged on the team. They said to get down low. I practically laid on the ground. Since I was position over the ball, I lunged as the center hiked the ball to the quarterback. I always followed the ball, so I was never offsides, but I had my arms around the quarterback’s ankles before anyone else have moved out of their pre-snap position. The quarterback fell down instead of taking a step to hand the ball off. If you were keeping the stats, I had more tackles for a loss in one half of one game than most others on the team had tackles that year. I also forced two fumbles. The quarterback only made one play for positive yardage that half, and I was part of the tackle downfield as I chased him with one of his shoes in my hand. Note to self: If you tackle the shoes, make sure the feet are in them.
I had no physical strength or speed, but I was smart. The coach did not like that.
We beat the other team so badly in just half the game, that they refused to come out of the locker room after halftime. But the coach refused to let me play for the rest of the year and I did not even try out for the team the next year. I do not think that the school’s middle school coach had any problem at all cutting people.
In Denise Wilson’s book, The Seven Words You Never Want to Hear, she talks about the line in the Gospel of Luke when God tells some folks who spent their lives saying “Lord, Lord”. God says, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” Seven words we never want to hear.
And it seems that God has the same type of problem with cutting people as Tony Dungy did as a head coach. He keeps passing us more rope in which to hang ourselves… Or rope to have Jesus pull us to safety.
Which is it? Do we hang ourselves? Or do we accept God’s plan for our lives?
It doesn’t take exceptional strength or speed to make that decision. It does not take exceptional intellect. It takes a heart that will love God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.