“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus says these words twice in Luke’s gospel: in Luke 14:11 and 18:14 (at the conclusion of the parable of the wedding feast and the conclusion of the parable of the Pharisee and tax-collector who went to the temple to pray).
Why am I writing these words now? Well, some people may have thought that I was bragging last week about the success I had experienced this past football season in fantasy football. Remember? I was the #1 seed in the playoffs in all three leagues of which I am a part.
I promise I really was NOT trying to brag. If you took it that way, I apologize. I was just trying to make a point about how if what we do in this life doesn’t carry over to the afterlife, then it is meaningless.
In the three semi-final games that I was involved with in the three fantasy football leagues I play in I won exactly one game last week. In the two games I lost, one looked closer than it really was because I had a couple of players that played well on Monday night. In the other game I lost, well, I scored 40 points lower than any other week this season and was on the losing end of the “biggest blowout of the week.”
Even as I wrote last week’s article, I knew I should have saved it for a later date...but I had writer’s block, and it was all I had, so I went with it.
Before anyone asks: no, I do not believe that my article really had anything at all to do with the football games (fantasy or otherwise) this past week. I don’t think the players on “my” roster read last week’s Dye-a-logue and collectively decided they would score, on average, less than half of their projected points.
Nor do I believe that God somehow manipulated the players and the games so that I would “learn some humility.”
I just had a bad week in the world of fantasy football. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.
But Jesus’ point is well taken. Just as Solomon said in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” The point is to remember when you’re on top, stay humble because that’s where a fall hurts the worst.
Never-the-less, just to be on the safe side, I believe I will not mention how I’m doing in fantasy football next year until the playoffs are over!
As many of you know, I enjoy playing the exciting game of fantasy football. I’m actually in three leagues this year and, well, something pretty strange happened this year.
You see, all three leagues have finished the regular season and all three leagues had the same player as the regular season champion. Since I’m the only one who plays in all three leagues, that would be me!
Making this more “incredible” is that I haven’t really been paying attention to the NFL season, since the only games I watched were over Thanksgiving (and I really wasn’t watching them too closely).
I’m not trying to brag about how good I did (I am especially not seeking to jinx myself in the playoffs...or, rather “out” of the playoffs). But, speaking of the playoffs, having the best regular season in the league doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win in the league playoffs.
Yes, I’m kind of excited that I had a combined record of 32 wins and 9 losses in all three leagues. But that’s really not important. What is important is the playoffs...what will my record be after this week’s games.
So if I’m not bragging, what is my point? Simply this...Jesus asks an important question in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
You can win all the “games” in this life (houses, cars, toys, etc.) but none of that really matters. What matters is how you do in the “playoffs” (you know, after your regular life ends).
It’s really not that important to me if I win in fantasy football. Who am I kidding, yes it is! But it is not nearly as important as what I am doing right now to ensure that I “win” when this life ends.
Jesus has already won and He has given us a play book (for example look at Matthew25:31-46). If we follow His example, then we will be victorious in the most important playoffs!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded why I have a personal Yahoo! email account. Over the past few weeks, I’ve wished I had a Yahoo! email account for church business.
Why? Junk email! Every company that we (the church) have bought something from in the past couple of years (or if we even visited their website and looked at something), are sending holiday emails to tell us about specials on the things we looked at...and in some instances bought from them, in other instances we bought it elsewhere.
And don’t tell me to hit the unsubscribe button...all that does is unsubscribe you from one email list and subscribe you to 123 others!
But still, even as I gripe about getting the emails, a part of me is envious of their record keeping. Yes, I inquired about a particular product 18 months ago, but we decided against it and have no plans to revisit that decision in the near future...so their response is we’ll check back with you in six months.
And do you know why they are so persistent? Their livelihood depends on it. They have to keep following up so that if we ever do decide to purchase their product (or an accessory or something similar or anything else that they sell), we will buy from them.
So when we have visitors, why don’t we follow up with them? “Well, that’s your job, preacher!” Actually studies have shown that the most effective follow up is done by “ordinary members.”
The study showed that if the preacher did the follow up, the visitor felt he was just doing his job. But if someone else followed up with them, well, it was because they really cared.
It doesn't take much time or energy to write a quick note thanking them for spending time with us and inviting them back (check with the office for their address).
My friends, the livelihood of our congregation depends on us following up with those who show an interest in our congregation.