Following an embarrassing loss, the Green Bay Packers followed Coach Vince Lombardi into the locker room. The odds were high for the players to be taken to the shed by Coach Lombardi. After a period of silence, Lombardi’s voice interrupted the calm, “Men, in all my days of coaching and playing I have never witnessed such a poor exhibition of football. We did not tackle, run, throw or catch the way you have been taught. Starting right now we are going to begin with the basics.” He then held up a football for all to see and declared, “Men,” he said, “this is a football.” At the conclusion of the coach’s dramatic speech, all-pro middle line backer Ray Nitschke raised his hand. “Coach,” he said, “could you go a little slower?”
Coach Lombardi was so frustrated with his team’s performance that he felt like he had to go back to the most basic elements of laying a foundation for re-teaching his men to play the game of football.
As a pastor, I can sympathize with the late Coach Lombardi, wanting my ministry team to succeed, while wondering how we got so far away from the fundamentals of the faith as Jesus’ instructed.
When Jesus was asked to simplify the core message, from the 613 laws found in the Old Testament, he responded with the great commandment…
Matthew 22:37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)
At the end of Jesus’ life on earth, when his time was short, He gave instructions on what is most important for those who were left… what is called the great commission…
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
The Great Commandment and the Great Commission lead to a great church, and a great life! Can’t get more simple, yet more profound!
So I ask you, are you loving God, loving others, loving the lost and leading others to find and follow Jesus? If not, why not? Nothing is more strategic, nothing more eternally rewarding and nothing is more personally fulfilling.