Last night, I learned an incredible lesson from my son. It unfolded like this…

DSC_0051Earlier this year, my son Chris began showing interest in a new sport – football. It was not exactly what Angie and I expected but we encouraged it. After signing up to play for the Station Camp Bisons, training camp for the 11 & 12 year old team began three weeks before school.

To my surprise, this community league team would practice four times a week until the season opening game. Four times a week!? I don’t go for a walk four times a week. But there he was, running 1.5 miles at the beginning of practice. Dozens of jumping jacks. Bunches of leg lifts. Lots of push-ups. And those sprinting drills. Ugh. It made me tired just watching from the sidelines during the two hour (and more) practices.

And then it happened… the season opening game.

Station Camp Bisons vs. Pleasant View Eagles

And Chris’ team won by the “mercy rule” in the third quarter when the score climbed to 35-0.

Since that first game, league rules state that teams may practice only two times per week. But trust me, the coach is getting all he can out of these boys in those practices. At times, Chris is regularly sore and bruised. He got a stinger in his back a week ago during a particularly violent collision. Last night, he saw stars during one tackling drill.

As we went home, I was giving him the twice-weekly, post-practice pep talk. Being his first year, I think he’s doing great (but I’m biased – a lot). Perhaps it was too early, but I broached the subject of “would you do it again? Do you think you’ll sign up for another season of football?” His answer was incredible.

As we talked, it all came down to practices and games. And here’s what he said,

Nobody signs up for practice. You sign up for the games.

BOOM! My 11-year old just schooled his father about life.

I still feel confronted. Do I live for practice or the game? I think I live for the game. But it sure feels like I’m at practice a lot.

DSC_6909Having my wife Angie in Haiti this week has given me an even greater desire to make sure our lives are in the game and not just tied up with practice. Every time I talk with a church planter, I want to make sure I’m in the game. Sitting with men who are scrambling to lead well at home, work and in the community makes me desire to be in the game. The everyday conversations with people who need help, can give help, and those consumed with the gospel – they energize every fiber of my being. Practice is important. It gets you ready for what’s next, for what’s expected. But there’s nothing like being in the game.

I didn’t sign up for a life full of practices. I signed up for the game.

My goal is a passion-filled life given for God’s glory and the gospel that results in making disciples of all nations.

So what’s your passion? What are you ready to do that will get you out of practice and into the game?

Leave a comment and let’s hear about your passion.

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