Getting Ready for Game Day

Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. They do it to win a temporary crown, but we do it to win one that will be permanent. 1 Cor 9:25 (GW)

Brett Favre
Image by Jvstin via Flickr

Thursday September 9th was the kick-off of the 2010 NFL football season with the Saints and Vikings taking to the field. The Saints easily handed Brett Favre and company a 14-9 loss, as the Vikings showed a great deal of miscommunication on the field. There were many missed passing patterns, and mental errors leading to a number of penalties from which the Vikings could not recover. Favre looked rusty, or old depending on your perspective, as he labored behind center not able to connect with receivers. Play was lumbering and appeared un-rehearsed, which as it so happens was the case.

It’s hard not to think Favre’s late arrival is at least in part to blame for the Vikings’ stagnancy. And because he is nearly 41, it seems inevitable that it will take him more time to round into form. But after Thursday, it’s fair to wonder if Favre can get back to the form that generated perhaps his greatest season instead of regressing to the kinds of seasons that spelled his departure from Green Bay and the Jets after just one year.

During the off-season Favre was nursing the damaged ankle he sustained in the N.F.C. Championship game for which he has said he is receiving regular lubricating injections to get through the season. He missed all the off-season and training camp and barely appeared in the preseason, and it showed Thursday night. He was rusty and wildly off target, and if he didn’t go down as often as he did in the championship game, he also didn’t come up with as many of the jaw-dropping plays that keep Favre, and fans, coming back for

Favre finished 15 for 27 for 171 yards, with one interception and one touchdown. It wasn’t the way anyone imagined a rematch of last year’s high-flying National Football Conference championship game going. Some of Favre’s passes were so far from their intended targets that the incompletions could be chalked up only to a lack of practice, but the Saints entered the game with a simple plan: make Favre dink and dunk his way downfield, which broadens the opportunities for a mistake.

Success is more likely to arrive after intense preparation. When you have done all you can then it is time to enter the competition, not if you only half-heartedly participated in the practice drills.

The Saints on the other hand looked like a finely tuned automobile hitting on all cylinders and they ended up winning the game.

As Christians we are also engaged in a win or lose fight to the finish. Our adversary has played this game for a long time and is highly developed in his tactics and defenses. He is looking to exploit any weakness he sees in our game plan and will stop at nothing to end our lives not to mention our game. As a result we are instructed to be well prepared to enter the game of life with the full knowledge of what obstacles we must face and overcome. Unlike Brett Favre we are not left to our own limited abilities because we can call upon the strength of the Lord to come to our aid.

The lack of preparation showed up dramatically in the season opener rematch of the Vikings and the Saints. One side appeared to be well prepared while the other side struggled throughout the entire competition. Just because you have a superstar quarterback playing on your team does not mean a guaranteed win. A team is made up of many players and each must do their very best in order for the team to win. Proper preparation is required to play well on game day. An hour a week does not prepare a Saint to engage the enemy on the battlefield any better than an hour a week would prepare an NFL football team to play to victory.

The Saints did win and in the end the Saints of God win as well, but not without first putting up a fight to the finish. Since we know we are on the battlefield and there is a real opponent how important is it to you in your time of preparation? Do you start each day ready to meet the onslaughts of the enemy or do you simply rest on the talents and abilities of your quarterback to carry you through the day?

Granted, unlike Brett Favre, our quarterback has never been defeated and is always playing at his best, but that does not mean we are exempt from preparation. Think about it!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Tim 4:7-8 (NKJV)

And that is this week’s tail feather.

But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)

Along for the journey

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