Is There a Spiritual Lesson in the NFL Draft?

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Friday, April 29, 2016

Is There a Spiritual Lesson in the NFL Draft?


The first round of the NFL Draft is over. Jared Goff was drafted first by the Rams, followed by Carson Wentz, drafted by the Eagles. (For more on the latter, see Nick Pitts's The Life and Faith of Carson Wentz.) Both teams gave up a great deal to be in position to choose them. Will they become Pro Bowl quarterbacks, or will they soon be forgotten?


NFL teams do their best to draft the best players for their teams, but no one knows if their best will be good enough. Of the eighty-one players chosen number one, only fourteen have made it to the Hall of Fame so far. No team has drafted number one and won the Super Bowl the same year. Only eight have even made the playoffs that year.


Now consider this miracle in God's word: When the priests of Israel stepped into the flooded Jordan river, "the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan" (Joshua 3:16). The town of Adam was twenty miles upstream. It took several hours after God stopped the river there for the rest of the water to reach the place where the priests stood. 


But the moment they set their foot in the flood, the last of the river reached them. God began this miracle hours before his people knew it or could participate in it. They did their work while trusting God to do his.


This balance prevails across every dimension of our lives. On one hand, our Lord calls us to "be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). He knows that people judge God by his followers. Our Father deserves our very best, a passion for excellence in all we do.


Oswald Chambers: "If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome." William Barclay noted that we progress in life in proportion to the fare we are prepared to pay.


On the other hand, we are called to wait on God by faith: "They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31; see Psalm 27:14; Lamentations 3:25).


Human words cannot change human hearts. You and I cannot convict a single person of a single sin, or save a single soul. Only the Holy Spirit can change the human spirit. Only God can forgive sin and redeem sinners.


What's the balance between working and waiting? As we work, God works. As we give God our best, he gives us his best.


So listen for the call of God, then step out by faith. Sometimes you'll see the results, and sometimes you won't. Moses saw the Red Sea part but did not live to see the Jordan River do the same. When Paul wrote half of the New Testament, he didn't know he was writing half of the New Testament. When we obey the call of God, he always redeems our challenges and uses our faith for his glory and our good.


What flood are you facing today?



Publication date: April 29, 2016


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