Power of influence on the gridiron and off

It’s Friday Night Lights time in Texas. For those of us who are football fans there is an allure to the stadiums during the fall of the year. Because I have a son who plays football, you know where I will be on game night.

Nathan is our late-in-life blessing. Our daughters were 15 and 11 when he was born. We were young and foolish when we raised our first two, but grew old enough to know how to savor the moments with Nathan. My wife, June, and I almost dote on him like he was a grandchild. It has been an awesome 18 years.

He plans to play football in college. He has told us that he has never had any indication that God was calling him to vocational ministry. Although his mother and I tried to raise him right, he wants to be a lawyer.

All parents like to brag on their kids when they do something significant. June and I have been blessed in many ways by all three of our children. Having three grandchildren, the bragging has only just begun.

If you will indulge me, I would like to share something that happened at the beginning of football practice this season. Nathan is a senior. There are some kids on his team that have received national attention in recruiting. Others are on the varsity for the first time. There is a decent talent mix that could enable the team to surprise a few folks and go to the playoffs. It will take everything falling in place just right.

On the weekend before the first practice, Nathan called a team meeting. This meeting was not prompted by the coaches. All but about a half dozen of the varsity players were present. Nathan began his speech indicating his desire to win and go to the playoffs. He wanted to challenge his teammates to a higher standard. He offered a covenant that spelled out abstinence from alcohol and drugs. He pointed out that if some were out of shape physically or not focused mentally because of the use of these substances their chances of winning diminished. The team discussed punishment for violations. With a first offense the whole team would have to do some self-imposed disciplinary activities with the offender doing even more. With the second offense the perpetrator would be kicked off the team.

Amazingly, all of those present walked forward and signed the covenant. Nathan spoke with several guys individually, encouraging them to be leaders. The next day at practice it was apparent that the team was unified and focused. I don’t know if Nathan’s team will win and go to the playoffs, but if these young men will keep the covenant their lives will be better because of it.

Nathan may not be called to vocational ministry. Yet, God has given him a platform to share his faith and encourage others to do the right thing. His mom and I are eternally grateful to the Lord Jesus.

You can influence someone. People are looking for leadership. People want to have a positive challenge placed before them. Have the courage to present Christ and take a stand for what is right. You may not always win, but you will be blessed.

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