After last night’s Super Bowl victory by the Los Angeles Rams, I was thinking this morning about how nice it will be to not have to listen to the national sports media fawn and gush for the entirety of the NFL off-season about how Joe Burrow is the new golden child and heir apparent to Tom Brady. I have nothing against Burrow personally, but the national sports media doesn’t just beat a dead horse, they beat it, grind it up, make some glue out of it and then try selling the glue with the classic Middle School Theory of Persuasion – talk as loudly and as often as possible to try to get your way.
My thoughts of gratitude toward the Rams for enabling us to avoid this painful alternate reality were interrupted as I was checking out post-game comments and came across this quote from Aaron Donald, defensive tackle for the Rams and who many would argue is currently the best defensive player in the NFL (Sorry, Watt)
“Legacies aren’t built from individual stats but team success.”
In the context of the game of football the quote doesn’t seem that profound — in fact, it seems fairly obvious, right? Tom Brady wouldn’t be considered the GOAT if he hadn’t made it to 10 Super Bowls, winning 7 of them. Swap TB12’s Super Bowl numbers with Dan Marino’s (1 SB, a loss) and tell me Brady is still the GOAT. No way.
However, Donald’s quote didn’t stop me because of it’s application to the game of football, it stopped me because of it’s application to the game of life. It was one of those moments where the Holy Spirit nudges my own by shining light into the shadows of my inner thought life.
Oh, Father – how often am I inclined to look at my “individual stats” in my marriage, my relationships, at work, or even in ministry?
Sure, I want to build a legacy through my walk with God, but I’m once again reminded that life doesn’t work that way – legacies aren’t built that way. Aaron Donald has it right. Building a legacy – even a legacy through your walk with God – requires teamwork.
Of course, this implies we are on and have a team and I was reminded that I (and you) do have a team — two of them.
First, we have the ultimate team in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. If you’ve been around E6 enough you know we often begin pray with “Father, Son, Holy Spirit”. That’s because if we desire to create a legacy in the Lord they must each have a role in our lives. God is our Father, creator of heaven and earth and sustainer of life. Jesus is our king, our redeemer, our savior and friend. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, our comforter, our guide. Like a football team, there is some overlap in their roles – receivers sometimes block, running backs sometimes pass (like Mixon’s TD pass last night). The point isn’t to put God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit in a box – the point is that when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you have a team walking with you in life and it’s a team effort, not an individual one, that creates a legacy. I’ve had periods where I’ve lived my life, and measured it, based on my “individual stats” and that road always leads to a dead end.
Which leads us to the second team we either have or need. Brothers. Specifically, other men who are also seeking to follow God daily. Without this second team, I might not have ever realized the true value of, and my desparate need for, the first team. There is a reason that Solomon, who God gave immeasurable wisdom, says in Proverbs 17:7,
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
God designed us as men, and he designed us in a way that if we desire to become all that God created us to be we must be in relationship with other men. How does this happen? We must ask our first team – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – to identify, draft and build our second team. Don’t miss this point. It’s all too easy to go back to relying on our own stats and our own skills to attempt to build our second team. This is where we have to lean in and trust that God our Father, truly knows best and desires the best for us, because He truly does. If that last statement seems impossible or ridiculous to you, I get it. I really do. If you long for those words to actually ring true for you personally, consider coming to our Spring Boot Camp. It’s a place where God has shown up to reveal that truth for many, many men.
If you look around and realize that you don’t have much of a second team, or perhaps none at all, I would invite you to do two things. First, pray – pray for God to put Christian men in your life who are looking for the same thing and then continue to pray. Just like a championship football team, a band of brothers directed by God doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient and focus on your first team in the meantime. Second, sign up and join us for our upcoming Brew & Chew. We can’t wait to see what God does when guys take the active step to gather together as men to share a beverage and have conversations about things that matter to God. You might even meet some other guys needing the same thing as you in this season of life.
Lastly, if you’re wondering if building a legacy in your walk with God is actually worth it, consider this promise from God recorded in Exodus 20:6 as He spoke directly to the children of Israel from Mount Sinai,
“I am loyal and gracious to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Are you kidding me? A thousand generations?? Now THAT is a legacy worth letting go of “individual stats” and allowing the team’s needs and the team’s success to be your success.
Never forget – there is only one true GOAT and He’s already on your team.
2 thoughts on “Legacy, Team and a GOAT”
Solid. Ties into what I had read in Phil Jackson’s Book ‘Eleven Rings’
“On a good team there are no superstars,” (Coach) Red insisted. “There are great players who show they are great players by being able to play with others as a team. They have the ability to be superstars, but if they fit into a good team, they make sacrifices, they do things necessary to help the team win. What the numbers are in salaries or statistics don’t matter; how they play together does.”— Phil Jackson recalling, in 1967, when Coach Red Holzman signed him to the New York Nicks.
Love that quote — so true, Terry. I’m reading Tozer’s Pursuit of God and it is pure gold – every sentence is quotable. He has this great section about the impossible burden of living life where we are the center of our own world — in part, “The labor of self-love is a heavy one indeed. Think for yourself whether much of your sorrow has not arisen from someone speaking slightingly of you. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol. How then can you hope to have inward peace? The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest. Continue this fight through the years and the burden will become intolerable. Yet the sons of earth are carrying this burden continually, challenging every word spoken against them, cringing under every criticism, smarting under each fancied slight, tossing sleepless if another is preferred before them. Such a burden as this is not necessary to bear.”