Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: “The secret of success is in the blocking and tackling. Focus on the blocking and tackling and everything else will come along.”

It was something I should have learned in High School football. After all, I played tackle; it would have made my experience more meaningful if I knew it then. But I didn’t. It was a lot of years after high school; when I was in business and a mentor shared it with me.

“The secret of success is in the blocking and tackling. Focus on the blocking and tackling and everything else will come along.” I didn’t miss the football analogy. What my mentor meant was that in business, like in football, you can’t win the game if you fail at the basics.

Everybody enjoys watching football when there’s a hundred yard kick-off return or a wide receiver jumps up over the heads of his defenders to catch, one-handed, a sixty yard Hail Mary pass. That’s where the glory is. That’s what gets replayed over and over in the television highlights.

Plays like that are exciting to watch; but ask any coach, seasons aren’t made in the spectacular one handed receptions or the hundred yard kick-off returns. You can’t get to the play-offs unless you’ve perfected the basics - blocking and tackling.

Life is the same. When we think about our purpose in life we picture the glorious stuff - the big kick-off returns and magnificent receptions. Blocking and tackling just isn’t interesting enough to hold our attention.

Too many times, someone has asked me, “How do I find God’s will, His purpose for my life?” They tell me that they’ve spent their whole life searching for God’s will but they’re still coming up blank; still not knowing what the big thing is that God wants them to accomplish.

What they’re looking for is the hundred yard kick-off return or the immaculate reception. They’re not looking for the blocking and tackling; it’s just not glorious enough. Problem is, if they haven’t got the blocking and tackling right, they may never have the opportunity to make the spectacular play they’ve been searching for all their lives.

There’s an old joke about a boy stopping classical pianist Artur Rubinstein on the streets of New York asking for directions. “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” the boy inquired. “Practice young man, practice,” was Rubinstein’s answer. Rubinstein knew how to get to Carnegie Hall; by practice – by perfecting the blocking and tackling.

So what’s the blocking and tackling in the Christian life? It’s the stuff we already know. The easy stuff - easy stuff to know, not necessarily easy stuff to do. There are some things you need to do that are absolutely necessary to understanding and accomplishing your purpose in life. The list is pretty easy and it’s pretty short. I’ll bet you can recite it for me from memory.

In case you’re having trouble remembering, I’ll give you a hint; the secret to blocking and tackling is found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter twenty-two, verses thirty-seven through thirty-nine. If you get this list right, every other detail of your purpose in life, every spectacular play that you’ve been looking for, will come your way; and more importantly, you’ll be ready for them when they come.

Let’s look at the secret to blocking and tackling:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Pretty simple list isn’t it?

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Like I said, I’ll bet you already knew that list, didn’t you?

Jesus said that “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” What He meant was that everything in scripture (and everything in life) hangs on these two points. By the way, do you know who He was talking to when He pointed this out? The Pharisees and the Sadducees; the religious leaders of Israel who came to trip Him up with their legalese. Imagine that, the guys who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders were the ones who needed a lesson in blocking and tackling.

“Okay,” you might be saying. “I know about the two greatest commandments and I understand that you keep trying to make this football analogy; but what does this have to do with understanding my purpose in life. How does it help me find out what it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life?”

Well … it is what you’re supposed to being doing with your life. Throughout all these letters I’ve been talking about your unique purpose in life; the thing that God has planned for you, and no one but you. But there’s something about your purpose I haven’t been talking about; something I’m going to cover now. The blocking and tackling.

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