A Legacy of Commitment

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:8 KJV

In a continuation of our week of a legacy of prayer we come to the prayer of commitment and a man named Reggie White. During his amazing, Reggie played first in Philadelphia and then with the Green Packers where he made the game ending sack against Brett Favre to win Superbowl XXXI in 1993. In 1998 he retired from football and went on to become an ordained minister. My wife and I were blessed to be able hear Reggie speak in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania in 2001, and the one thing I remember Reggie saying was, “When my kids look back, I hope they don’t just think about me as a football player. I want them to remember that I was a man of God.” Ironically, just three years later Reggie passed away from sleep-apnea, at the age of 43.

Just like Reggie White, we never know if the life we are living now may become the legacy that we leave behind. Isaiah was much like Reggie White. He was successful and had already been established as a respected Prophet to the king. But God had something far more controversial for Isaiah to do. When the king died, Isaiah had a vision where he saw the throne of God with all the angels worshipping, and Isaiah fell on his face in fear. Then he heard God’s voice asking, “Who will go?” In that moment Isaiah could have simply been silent, hoping someone besides him would raise his hand. Have you ever done that? Sadly, I confess that I have.

But real commitment meant leaving his comfortable and acceptable life and diving into the unknown. Isaiah could have let the risks outweigh the cost, but instead he said, “I will go!” He committed without knowing where he was going or even what he would be asked to do. He signed the blank check of his commitment and invited God to fill it in. We can be committed to things like fame and fortune, or we can spend piles of money trying to win people’s favor. What matters in the end is best summed up in a saying penned in the journal of missionary Jim Elliot not long before he was martyred. “Only one life, so soon it is past. Only what’s done for Christ will last!”

The Next Snap of the Ball

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:11-12

Most of us agree that God’s grace is the key to becoming a Christian, but a lot of arguments have been made over just how that happens. Today’s verse begins by telling us that what we need is a grace that brings salvation. Just like the huddle before a football game, Paul is saying to Titus, “Huddle up! Focus on what I am about to say.”  Following that football analogy, Paul gives this young pastor a strategy to not only play, but also to win the game. He starts by saying that everyone knows about God’s grace, but that for this grace to be effective, it has to go beyond simply filling people’s ears. The kind of grace that brings salvation must accomplish two things. First, in the same way that players line up to play according to the coach’s game plan and not their own, we must begin by giving up our old way of life and accepting God’s new one. Next, this grace that brings salvation also prepares us to spring into action when ball is snapped. Paul summarizes our part in the play as “Living soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” Does that mean we have to be perfect? Of course not. No one would be on the team if that were true! So when we mess up God’s game plan, it is just like the receiver dropping the ball or the running back fumbling. Stuff happens in this life and we mess up. But when the whistle blows, we don’t change our uniforms and line up on the other side of the ball. Instead, we just say “Sorry coach, It was my fault.” Then get back to the line of scrimmage because God’s game plan of grace is still in effect. Get ready for the next snap of the ball!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com