“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations…May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him (Psalm 67:1-2,5-7).”
Gayle Sayers was one of the great running backs of all time. He played for the Chicago Bears of the NFL in the late 60s and early 70s. Sayers was NFL Rookie of the Year his first season. He set many records and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Brian Uhrlacheris currently one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He plays linebacker for the Chicago Bears. He was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and has played in several Pro Bowls (the NFL All-Star game). Uhrlacher has played in a Super Bowl, and himself may be on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
These two all-time great Chicago Bears are now sniping at each other in the media. It all began when Sayers commented on the state of the team today. He said,”(quarterback Jay) Cutler hasn’t done the job. Urlacher, I don’t know how good he’s going to be coming back. They need a couple wide receivers, a couple defensive backs. If (coach) Lovie (Smith) doesn’t do it this year, I think he’s gone.”
Uhrlacher didn’t take kindly to the remarks. “Let me ask you a question: ‘How many championships did Gale Sayers win?”’ Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune. “How many playoff games did he win when he played? None. None. None.”
And on it goes.
On the other hand, Mike Martz, the new Bears offensive coordinator is all sweetness and light when it comes to the team’s prospects. He praises Cutler, who has been known to be insubordinate when he played for another team.
“I never let hearsay and gossip determine what I think of a player, and I haven’t with Jay”, Martz told Sports Illustrated. What I’ve seen in him so far is he has no flaws. None. He’s got no ego. I’m sure I’ve not met anyone as intelligent as him at quarterback. He’s been a great leader…”. And so on. Martz also praises other members of the team.
The Chicago Bears are surely one of the greatest teams of all time. As of 1978, they had the most wins of any NFL team. However, they have definitely been underachieving of late. On February 4, 2007 they played the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl and were expected to continue their excellence, but they haven’t reached that level since.
When a favorite team doesn’t achieve, their fans and the media raise questions. For the Chicago Bears, the verbal showdown between Sayers and Uhrlacher adds fuel to fire.
When a Christian doesn’t fulfill their potential, questions can also be raised. Friends and family can wonder why a seemingly gifted person is underachieving.
The answer to the question of why a Christian underachieves is most likely complicated and, thus, not easily answered. Here is one possibility: a Christian underachieves because they themselves are not serving God and seeking the welfare of others. They are not being a blessing to God and people, so they themselves are not blessed.
The idea is that when a Christian obeys God and serves others, they release the blessing of God for themselves. The cause and effect relationship is a little difficult to analyze. It is somewhat like the question of, “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg.?” People can argue all day about that one. However, the cause and effect relationship does appear to be cyclical one.
Abraham is a good case study of how blessing operates. God told him to take his son Isaac, the miraculous boy of his old age, and offer him as a sacrifice. This didn’t make any sense. After all, it was God Himself who engineered the birth of Isaac as the fulfillment of His promises of blessing to Abraham and his family (Genesis 17:15-21).
Abraham did what he was told, though. The story is well known. He took Isaac to a hill, put him on a stack of wood, and prepared to kill him. At the last second, an angel of the Lord stopped him (Genesis 22:9-12).
But the angel of the Lord didn’t just stop Abraham from slaughtering his son. He added a message from God.
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me (Genesis 22:1-18).”
The cause and effect relationship in Abraham’s case looks something like this this:”Abraham blesses God — God blesses-Abraham–Abraham’s descendants bless all nations-God is blessed.
I think Mike Martz will have a similar effect on the Chicago Bears because he is blessing with his tongue instead of cursing. This will bless his players, which will lead to victories, which will return to Mike Martz in the form of a blessing of some kind (a pay raise or a better job, for instance.)
We believers can follow Mike Martz’s example. We can serve our wives and children, or a” significant other”. In blessing them, we will bless God and release blessing for ourselves. Who knows, we might even end up blessing the whole world. Now that would be an achievement!