“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” ~Colossians 3:12-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
Only our Savior brings true and perfect peace — the wholeness and completeness of a right relationship with God our Father and with each other. God’s ministry through his Son, his plan for all of mankind, is to reconcile creation back to himself. That’s peace. Perfect peace. The peace of Christ. And it’s marked by forgiveness and gentleness and compassion and it’s all tied up in love.
The rub comes when we understand that the peace of Christ isn’t always peaceful. Where a person or a group of people are allowing God’s Holy Spirit to work in them and through them and for them to make them more into the image of Christ and sanctified to God, there’s always going to be friction and conflict. It’s not easy. It’s difficult. The peace of Christ always comes with a sacrifice. With trials and suffering. The peace of Christ comes in the way of Christ. He calls us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. And there’s a huge difference.
As for letting that peace of Christ rule in your hearts, the picture there is of an umpire at the athletic games that were so very popular both in Paul’s day in Colosse and in our day in America. The umpire would serve to qualify those who were eligible to compete and disqualify those who weren’t. His “rule” was the rule. And at the end of the game, it was the umpire who rewarded the victor with his crown. The umpire ruled who was in and who was out, who won and who lost.
Paul says let the peace of Christ “rule” in your hearts. Let God’s ministry of reconciliation and perfect peace that’s only found in a right relationship with God and each other through Jesus, let that peace rule the things you say and do, the way you act and react and respond, the plans you make and execute in the Kingdom and in the community.
Let that peace determine what you throw out and what you keep.
Does it bring people closer to each other and to Christ? Keep it. Does it take that peace of Christ to my neighbors? Do it. Does it only serve my selfish interests? Lose it. Is it only useful for making my wallet fatter or my car nicer? Forget it. Does it encourage? Is it kind? Does it relieve the burdens of others? Move on it. Does it tear down relationships? Does it give me pride or reason to boast? Is it unfair? Get rid of it.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
I’m so grateful to Mark Shipp and Ray Vanderlaan for their excellent scholarship in our Hebrew Scriptures and for the ways they’ve inspired me to see the pictures in our Bible. I give them all the credit in the world for the slideshow presentation I made last night at Legacy and the message I delivered of seeing the ways God communicates great truth through pictures. I’m still, in so many ways, just a beginner in this area of Bible study. But it moves me. It speaks to me. It grabs my heart and my soul in brand new ways that I can’t help but want to share. I could have gone for a couple of hours. Some of you are glad I didn’t. But thank you so much to those of you who told me you would have stayed if I had.
There are ten days left until football season — not preseason games or controlled scrimmages or two-a-day practices, real games that mean something and count in the standings, real games with real quarterbacks and running backs and wide receivers even into the fourth quarter. And in the continuing countdown to that first day of games, we honor the greatest football player to ever wear the #10: Fran Tarkenton.
As an All-America quarterback at the University of Georgia, he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and threw four TD passes in his first ever NFL game. He took the Vikings to three Super Bowls — all losses — and was called by Bud Grant “the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.” OK, that’s a bit of a stretch. But he was pretty stinkin’ good. After his 18 year pro career — he spent his last five years with the Giants — Tarkenton was tops in the NFL record books for passing attempts, completions, passing yards, passing TDs, rushing yards as a QB (3,674), and rushing TDs as a QB (32).
The man could scramble.
He also hosted “That’s Incredible” with John Davidson and Cathy Lee Crosby and spent just a season, I think, on Monday Night Football.
Catching up from yesterday, #11 is “America’s Punter,” as Roger Staubach called him, Danny White.
White set seven NCAA passing records while quarterbacking at Arizona State and he spent his first two professional years with the Memphis Southmen of the old World Football League. But it was with the Dallas Cowboys where Danny White made his mark, taking the team to three straight NFC Championship Games in the three years after Staubach’s retirement. As Staubach’s backup for four years he served as the Cowboys punter and was a legitimate threat to run or pass every time. He did both from 1980 – 1988, except for that weird controversy with Gary Hogeboom. And when he was forced out with Jimmy Johnson’s drafting of Troy Aikman, White left with a record of 67-35 as a starter on some pretty bad teams (41-11 at Texas Stadium), a 59.7% completion rate, and 155 TD passes. He still, today, holds eight Cowboys records.
Danny White never got his due. He was the victim of horrible timing throughout his Cowboys career. And if it weren’t for Dwight Clark’s catch, Wilbert Montgomery’s run, and the ’82 strike, White may have a couple of Super Bowl victories and a spot in the Hall of Fame. He is in the Arena Football Hall of Fame. As the head coach of the Arizona Rattlers, White went to five ArenaBowls in 14 years and won two of them. He’s also in the College Football Hall of Fame and was named the Arizona Athlete of the Century by some newspaper in Phoenix in 1999.
Ricky Williams, based solely on the fact that he was the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher when he left Texas, deserves at least a mention — I’m not sure how honorable — because he did wear the #11 during his freshman year. And who could forget the Eagles legendary quarterback, Norm Van Brocklin? But Danny White gets the nod. And tomorrow we’re into single digits.
By the way, the Cowboys looked pretty good Saturday night for a team that’s going to go 8-8 this year.
(That’s not official. I’m giving my actual game-by-game prediction one week from today.)