Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs: The king of capitalization on the football field
Core scripture: “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4: 5-6).
Message: (Warning: reading the first two paragraphs if you are not a football fan or a Chiefs fan at that could be slightly boring or confusing. Skimming is highly recommended for you. If you reside on the opposite side, embracing all that is awesome about this year’s Kansas City Chiefs, indulge!)
It has become a regular Sunday thing for me to see the Chiefs pull off the improbable this year. I learned that quickly during week one when they somehow rallied for an overtime victory, scoring 17 implausible points in the 4th quarter. They eeked out victories through the middle of their schedule, and arrived in Carolina slightly overwhelmed by the presence of last year’s NFC Champion. Down by a couple scores, Eric Berry ignited the fire by intercepting Cam Newton for a pick six, and Marcus Peters finished it off, ripping the ball away from a Carolina receiver in the waning seconds of the game, allowing Cairo Santos to kick the game-winning field goal. Finally, there came the Sunday night game in Denver …
It was an all-out slugfest. Two heavyweight contenders, throwing haymaker punches, the Broncos and Chiefs traded big plays the entire game. A Justin Houston safety. A Tyreek Hill punt return for a touchdown. Another Hill slant pattern for a touchdown as time expired to tie the ballgame. And how about Santos, Mr. Clutch, kicking the game-winning field goal in overtime off the upright to win the game? Talk about pulling the heart right out of you! And then they follow that exhilarating win with another one against Atlanta. Albert Wilson’s fake punt run for a touchdown. Another pick six from Eric Berry. And to top it off, how about Berry’s interception on a two-point conversion, taking it 99 yards to give the Chiefs a one-point victory. Are you kidding me? These guys just know how to capitalize.
Now, to pull my non-football fans right back in, let’s connect the dots. Just as the Chiefs capitalize on every opportunity to pull off heart-stopping victories, God wants the Christian teacher to do the same in the classroom. He is our biggest cheerleader when we take opportunities given to share our faith with others. Christ modeled this for us in embracing EVERY opportunity given to Him. He was the true King of Capitalization! He prayed without ceasing. He gave sight to the blind. He raised the dead to life. He turned water into wine. He calmed storms. Yeah, I think you get the point. There are countless opportunities, a plethora of possibility, to be Christ to others. The past few days I have been brainstorming them in my head to share below, so let’s take a stab at it.
- Invite an unreached colleague to a Christmas service at your church or a Christmas kids’ production.
- Patience is essential this time of year as the kids get antsy for Christmas. Show that Godly quality in every essence of your teaching, especially your most trying classes. Just between you and me, 7th hour comes to mind!
- Build relationships with your Christian students, and challenge them to be Christ to others. One of my greatest rewards came last week when I received an e-mail from a former student who sent me his baptism video. The last words of his testimony, which were read before he was submerged, were a short but sweet shout out to his 7th grade Language Arts teacher for making a difference in his life.
- Pray for your kids. Every day. I don’t do it enough, though I lifted them up this morning for their middle of the year testing. Amp the prayer up by walking the room where they will be testing to pray over desks and computers.
- Write a note of encouragement to a student or colleague that needs it. I love Paul’s challenge in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11 when he says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
- Another valuable scripture to keep in your heart: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1: 19). So much easier said than done when you have the kid that totally messes with you just for the fun of it! J
- Never miss an opportunity to build character. The girls’ basketball team was going through some major drama this week, arguing over petty, silly things. I used that as an opportunity to share a funny story from my college days when I fought with my best friend over spilled Doritos. With every basketball player I saw that day, even out to my afternoon duty by the bike racks, I reminded them: Stop fighting over spilled Doritos! They took it the right way, chuckling at me, knowing their drama was overrated.
- When you teach. When you walk down the halls. When you greet visitors in the office. Just smile! That positive vibe is expressed aptly in Philippians 4: 8.
- If you find yourself at a holiday party, especially if adult beverages are provided, watch your tongue. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18: 21).
- Christmas time somehow leads to an ever-present wave of complaining. Philippians 2: 14 reminds us to, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Can you be that person? Vent out if you need to, but there is a fine line between venting and complaining.
Alright, so that is just a sampling of what has flooded my mind. I am wondering if you all could help take part in adding to this list. How are you like Christ to others? What has worked for you? I encourage you, challenge you, IMPLORE you (too harsh of wording?) to reply below with a comment that might enlighten us how we can be Christ to others. Just like the cardiac Chiefs, make the most of every opportunity this week. Seize them and allow others know where your feet stand: on the solid rock of Jesus Christ, the King of Capitalization. What a firm foundation that is!
(I promise not to bring up the Chiefs again next week … unless of course they pull off another miracle against the first place Oakland Raiders on Thursday night. I will be there freezing my you-know-what off with my good old dad, rooting them on to victory!)
Challenge: Pray to God daily that He will open your eyes to opportunities the last two weeks of school to be Christ to others. Pray that He will use you to be a vehicle of His perfect love. Then, when Christmas Break comes, reflect on how He used you through journaling, conversation with a trusted friend, or prayer.
Song to bring it home: The best way to make the most of every opportunity is to completely and wholeheartedly embrace Christ in your heart. Listen to Jeremy Camp’s “Christ in Me” to remind yourself all over again to cleanse yourself daily of the worldly things that chain you down.
Prayer: Use me, Lord. Every day, use me! How can I show your love to others? How can I model Christianity so others would be curious about me, curious about You? Open my eyes to opportunities I have not seen before to reach the unreached, and keep my heart focused on the reason for the season: the birth of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.