Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Football Parable

Once there was a boy named Andrew who played football for his high school football team. He played wide receiver, and was quite talented at it. He had good hands and was very quick. No one on his team, or on most of the others, could defend against him effectively. But he was cocky and proud. This caused him many problems, like when he would try to make an easy catch look more difficult than it should.

And that's what happened one day in practice. His coach had just worked the players through a new play that had big potential, but when Andrew got open and tried to make a one-handed catch, of course he dropped it right on the ground.

But instead of scolding Andrew , the coach looked at the quarterback, and asked him why the play didn't work. "You saw it- Andrew tried to catch it with one hand and look good and he dropped it!" The annoyance in his voice was evident. For all his good catches, Andrew had bungled quite a few easy ones. But this time the coach looked the quarterback in the eye and said, before all the other boys, "Now I want you to listen. You, as the quarterback, own this offense. And if a play doesn't work, you are responsible. There will be no blaming anyone. Do you understand me?"

The boy looked sheepish, and said "Yes, sir". He felt about two feet tall, knowing that all his teammates in the huddle were staring at him. Andrew, however, though this was great. "Ha!" he said with a loud guffaw. He dug his elbow into the quarterback's ribs and said "That's right, you're responsible!" The quarterback looked like he wanted to be anywhere else. But he kept quiet.

So coach announced to the boys the next play they would practice. It involved both Andrew and the quarterback running to their right before the throw. They had used this multiple times, in practice and in games, and it was a favorite because Andrew was always able to get free and score. The coach read the assignments, then sent the boys out to their positions, keeping the quarterback just briefly for a private word.

And when the snap came, and Andrew broke out quickly, giving his favorite fake move, he found himself open by five yards or more, right there in the endzone. He turned to wait for the ball, thinking about how he would rub it in to the poor boy assigned to cover him. But with his arm up ready to throw, suddenly the quarterback pulled the ball down and started running, and was tackled after about two yards.

Andrew was livid. "What are you doing?" he screamed. "Couldn't you see me standing there, wide open?" But his quarterback said nothing. He looked to the coach for help. Coach just nodded. "Good," he said. "Let's huddle up again."

But Andrew wasn't satisfied. "What do you mean 'Good'? He only got two yards, and I was standing wide open the end zone! Didn't you say that he was responsible for this offense? How can you let him go with that?"

The coach just smiled. "I told him to do that. You see, he is responsible to run this offense. But he is responsible to me, and he is responsible to do the job that I have assigned him- to get yards. If he has to answer to me before all his teammates for your mistakes, do you think he's ever going to throw you the ball again?"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

First Job

Once there was a man with three sons. This man was a godly man, who sought not only to teach his sons the right way to go, but to bless them and bestow upon them. He had worked hard to provide them with good things above and beyond what they needed.

Now these three boys were close in age, and so when they approached their teen years, he announced to them that they were old enough now to work outside the home and earn a paycheck. His brother was a successful businessman, he explained, and had volunteered to provide the boys with a minimum-wage paycheck in return for simple work around his warehouse. And so the father told the young men that they would be going to work on Monday for their uncle for a few hours after school. He wanted to teach them to work hard, but he also wanted them to have more money than what he could give them on allowance. He told them that after their tithe, they would be able to do with their paychecks whatever they wanted.

Now Monday came and went, and by eight o'clock in the evening the three boys came home to their eager and proud parents. "How did it go at the warehouse today?", asked their mother. She couldn't wait to hear.

The youngest son spoke up first, as he was wont to do. "I hate it! I don't know why you've made me get a job. I wished I was home the whole time."

Now his mother knew how this son thought, and also the godly character of their uncle. She didn't think it could have been that bad. But she was wise and godly too. "What was wrong with working, honey?" she asked.

"I hated it. I couldn't do anything right, and I got tired and couldn't sit down, and Uncle Bill kept telling me to do things that I didn't want to. I can't think of why you want me to leave the house and get a job." Now his reaction was much stronger than usual- his parents could tell that he was very angry. He was fairly screaming now. "Why do you hate me so much? Why do you want me to leave home just to be unhappy?"

Now his father was getting very angry at this. But he knew his frame and collected himself. But before he could even speak, his eldest son pointed his finger in the youngest's face and shouted right back at him. "Don't you even say that! You watch your mouth! Don't you know that this family is about what Dad wants, not you? All you can think about is your miserable self. If Dad wants us to go to work and be miserable, then you better learn to like it!"

"Don't you point your finger in my face!", the younger boy came back, voice just as loud. They were ready to come to blows. But Dad quickly stepped in between them and put a hand on each of their chests. He wasn't angry any more, but his countenance was definitely not pleased. But he had an idea.

"I've heard from each of you- now what do you say? What did you think of working at the warehouse?" He spoke to his middle son, who just stood there looking quite perplexed.

"Oh, I thought it was OK. It was kind of hard, and some of the jobs that Uncle Bill gave me wore me out. I was glad when it was time to go home. But I was thinking about my paycheck- Uncle Bill said we're going to get paid on Friday, and it should be about $70. I think I'd like to save for a couple of weeks and get a new bike."

It might have been an illusion, but it seemed to him as he spoke, that Dad's frown lightened a bit. "I want you to go outside for a moment", said Dad to the middle son. And when he was gone, Dad gave the other two quite a licking, until they repented with tears and supplications.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Robin

The robin is

God's poem


A very irregular