I love Monday Night Football, mostly because it offers one of the week’s best match ups in the NFL. This past weekend (November 5-7) offered lots of great football moments. Who would have thought the Dallas Cowboys would come close to upsetting the perfect record of the Pittsburgh Steelers? And what fun it was to watch three rookie quarterbacks, Tua Tagolailoa, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow continue to impress NFL veterans and fans alike.
But I was waiting for Monday Night Football where two seasoned quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, were scheduled to meet. Both the Saints and the Buccaneers appeared equally matched. Brady and Brees were equally matched having thrown 561 and 560 career touchdown passes respectively. The pregame hype vibrated at a pitch that only dogs could hear. But the expectations for the game were disappointing as the Saints dominated early and finally defeated the Buccaneers 38 – 3.
There were lots of factors for the Buccaneer defeat. But one play seemed to tell the story for me. It was a miscommunication between Tom Brady and Antonio Brown. Brown had been signed a few days earlier with Tampa Bay after spending the better part of two years off the football field. While Brady advocated for Brown’s return to the NFL and to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was clear that Brown and Brady were not on the same page.
The “telling” play occurred when Brown stopped his sideline route short as Brady’s pass sailing over his head to where he would have been had he kept running. A missed opportunity to be sure. But it also resulted in an interception.
When you look at both players it is clear what is not the issue. It is not that one of them lacked talent. Neither was it that quarterback and receiver lacked game experience or knowledge of the game. Finally, it wasn’t that either didn’t possess confidence in their abilities. They simply hadn’t spent enough time together. Football is a game of inches. Everyone in the NFL is talented and fast. To play the game well every play must be carefully coordinated, practiced, and executed. That takes time together.
What a picture this is for the spiritual life of many men. Most men in the Church don’t lack for knowledge of the Christian faith. Most can quote scripture and list core doctrines of the faith. It isn’t that there are lots of guys who don’t have experience in the Christian faith. Many have confessed Christ as their Savior and even been an active member of the Church. Neither is it that men lack assurance of their eternal destiny. I encounter very few men who don’t believe that when they die, they will go to see Jesus.
What holds most men down in their journey of faith is time together with Jesus. Busy schedules, multiple personal and professional responsibilities, dedication to professional goals, distractions of technology, and sometimes laziness often steal away time that could be spent with God.
Life is demanding. Crises happen. Change is inevitable. Demands pile up. Distractions are unending. Just like football, the margins of error in life and your Christian walk are small. It doesn’t take much in the Christian journey to discover that you are not on the same page with God. It is not uncommon to find that quickly you feel disconnected or even distant in your relationship with God.
What’s the solution? A daily appointment with God.
Mark 1:35 makes a simple statement about Jesus. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Notice three things about this verse. First, Jesus starts the day with God and at an hour where life was still quiet. Second, Jesus went by himself. This was his appointment with God. It was solitary. Third, Jesus prayed. That is, he had a conversation with God.
If Jesus needed a daily appointment to stay on the same page with God, how much more do we need these appointments? Let me encourage you to follow the example of Jesus in setting aside daily time with God. When you do, you will be in sync with Him.