Summary: This message is all about perseverance. It may relate to some football fans who understand the career of the former Green Bay Packer quarterback.
The man, the myth, the legend was born in a tiny rural Mississippi town called Kiln, population 2,040. As a grandson of a Choctaw Indian, he played strong safety, kicker, punter, and quarterback for his high school team that passed less than five times a game. Favre received one and only one scholarship offer to attend Southern Mississippi, who thought he would make a great defensive back. Few people knew that he would be destined for greatness.
Now the year is 2008, and arguably the greatest quarterback of all time is still throwing the pigskin at the age of 18. He has earned the NFL’s iron man equivalent by playing in a record of 275 consecutive games. He owns every record in history including: most touchdown passes, most passing yards, most wins by a quarterback, most pass completions, most pass attempts, most MVP awards, most career games with three or more touchdowns, the unusual record of most wins by a quarterback when the temperature falls under 32 degrees, and many others.
There are some unusual instances that only the die hard fans know. Twice, he voluntarily took a pay decreases in order to funnel more money to his offensive lineman. In college, Favre was in a near fatal car accident resulting in the loss of 30 inches of his small intestine, but he still played well enough to lead a come from behind win against Alabama. He played while still suffering from the emotional loss of losing his brother-in-law in a four wheeler accident. And when his own father passed away, he played perhaps the greatest game of his life in front of a Monday Night audience against the Raiders. In baseball terms, he is the equivalent of Babe Ruth, Pete Rose, Cy Young, and Cal Ripken all rolled into one because of the records he holds.
In the sport of football, Brett Favre perseveres. But what about us? And what about our faith? In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the author Paul now getting up in age takes a brief moment to reflect back on his life. In speaking in entire life long consummation, he explains “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only , but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.”
In the Greek, the phrase “competed well” carries the expression such as “running the good race” or “fighting the good fight,” and holds within it a symbolic reference to a boxing or wrestling match. I don’t know about you, but I feel that sometimes life can feel just like boxing match. There are some tragedies that are so appalling that when people ask me as a pastor why…my only answer is I don’t know. But I do know this…that despite any challenge or any spiritual battle, we are called to persevere. And this is exactly my hope and prayer for all believers, even if in our lives it seems that we never throw a touchdown pass.