3 Stewardship Lessons from a Crazy Football Game
Let’s get this straight. I am not much of a football fan. Too violent, too loud, too long for my dainty tastes. So it makes complete sense that I am writing, for the second straight week, about football. But last Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers is well worth learning from.
Because we had just been in Seattle and have good friends there, I decided to turn on the game late in the 3rd quarter. The score was 16-0 and it looked like a bad day to be a Seahawks fan and a great one to be part of the Packers family. I left the house, stopping by the soup kitchen to pick up my daughter and chided my friends who were wearing their Seahawks gear.
For some reason, I turned on the game as I drove to Costco. It was still looking dismal with less than three minutes to go, but the Hawks had scored another face-saving touchdown. When the announcers saw that the Hawks were going for an onside kick, the exchange went something like this, “When was the last time you saw an onside kick work for the Hawks?” “Oh, 1928?” “Nope, 2005.” And as if to thumb their noses at the announcers, the Seahawks made and recovered the onside kick.
I dutifully went shopping but from then on I was listening to what was going on – everyone in Costco was chattering about it. As I got back into my car, I listened as the last two throws in Overtime were being called. “And the Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!!!!!”
So, you ask, what does this have to do with stewardship?
Persevere: If you are trying to implement your new philosophy of stewardship (year-round, focused on your mission, telling stories, and saying thank you) the task can seem overwhelming. But stick with it. Run the race. It may take time (oh, like you’re in the 4th quarter and everything looks bleak) but your tenacity will pay off. Really.
Hang in There: It may seem like you’re wasting your time. Some people probably don’t have the patience to see your plan through. But keep at it. Listen politely to the naysayers – but stay the course. Remember the Hawks fans that bailed on the game before it ended and couldn’t get back into the stadium? The good news is your congregation can always welcome back, with open arms, those who decide that they want to return.
Believe (but Do the Hard Work): Jesus is right there beside you all the way, but He’s not going to do the work for you. Pray without ceasing – but write a thank you note as soon as you say “Amen.” Pray that your congregation will increase their giving, but preach on financial health too. The Seahawks might not have shown up for much of the first three-quarters of the game but the incredible work they did during the 4th quarter and Overtime, made up for all their previous failings. Hmmm, that reminds me of an old Journey song...
So my friends, I guess, for just this week I love football for all that it can teach us about persevering in the face of tremendous obstacles. When you are feeling down, take a few moments and watch the highlights. If the Seahawks could pull this off, so can you. Now it’s off to the Superbowl to watch the commercials.
Bonus video on perseverance: Take a look at this elk. Watch it til the end. If this guy (or gal) elk is capable – then you are too.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. She wants to be able to leap like an elk some day. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.