“In him it has always been ‘Yes.'” ~2 Corinthians 1:19
Terry Rush is tough. Tough for me to read. Tough for me to swallow.
I go to Rush’s blog when I’m down. When I’m feeling the sting of criticism, when I’m feeling hurt by things that are said and done around me, when I’m confused about my role and my mission as a preacher of God’s Word, I turn to Terry. He’s good. But he’s tough.
Terry’s actually second in line. The first thing I do when I find myself feeling attacked or wronged or mistreated is to find a quiet spot somewhere in this church building and cry out to God. And I wrestle with our Father. What am I doing here? Why did you put me here? What do you want me to do? I pray the words of Habakkuk, “Why do you just stand there and watch?” Do something!
Satisfied with my own righteousness, and right-ness, then I go to Terry’s blog. He knows preachers. He understands preachers. He’s been doing it for 40 years. He knows and understands elders and deacons and youth ministers and worship leaders and church and church pratices and traditions and church politics and church members and church dynamics. He gets it. So I go to Rush for encouragement. He’s the world’s best Christian encourager. He paints beautiful word pictures that remind how big our God is and how wonderful his Kingdom. He reminds that God is in charge and we’re not.
And when he specifically addresses preachers and other church leaders, he doesn’t pull any punches. He understands himself and us too well. His words sting and rebuke. And challenge. He tells me to grow up. He tells me to put my head down and get back to work. He reminds me that everything that goes right is a “Yes” and everything that goes wrong is a “Yes” because God is working it all out. When things aren’t going my way, Rush reminds me that, in God’s wisdom and timing, it’s really all actually going perfectly my way. I’m just too short-sighted and self-serving to see it right now. During tough times, Terry reminds me that “we chalk it up to his marvelous mystery, accept it by sheer faith, and keep smiling.”
And then I run back to the quiet place and change my prayers. I take the focus off of me and put it back where it belongs, solely on our God. See, that’s what Terry’s words do for me. They force me to re-orient my view and my focus. He causes me to see where the criticisms of me are right. And that’s tough. It’s hard. At that point, I pray new prayers. I confess to our Lord that I’m being pouty and moody and touchy and paranoid and overly-sensitive and high-maintenance. I ask for and receive his blessed forgiveness. And I vow again to put my head down and get back to work, back to my calling. God’s in charge of the details. I should let him work those out.
There are 61 days left until the Cowboys kick off their 2009 football season. And today’s #61 in the Red Ribbon Review is offensive lineman Blaine Nye. A fifth-round pick out of Stanford in 1968, Nye played nine seasons in Dallas and was a major part of that transition from “Next Year’s Champions” to Super Bowl kings. At right guard, he made it to the Pro Bowl twice and played in 15 playoff games, including three Super Bowls. But my favorite thing about Nye is his humor and insight.
Two of the most famous quotes in Dallas Cowboys history were uttered by Nye.
On Thanksgiving Day in 1974, Clint Longley came off the bench for an injured Roger Staubach and threw a late 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson to beat the Redskins. Longley had never thrown an NFL pass before that day. When asked to comment on Longley’s performance, Nye dryly declared it was a “triumph of an uncluttered mind.” I find myself using that line a lot.
The other one’s even better. Nye once summed up everything that is the NFL and big-time sports when he said, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s who gets the blame.”
Along with Larry Cole and Pat Toomay, Nye was a charter member of the Cowboys Zero Club, an unofficial group of players who vowed to never do anything to seek publicity. Club membership never grew beyond those three because those wanting to join the club were automatically disqualified for expressing an interest. They treatened to kick Cole out one week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a nationally televised game against Washington.
Nye suddenly and surprisingly quit the Cowboys following his second Pro Bowl year in ’76. He and Tex Schramm got crossways on contract talks and Nye just walked away. He owns a successful consulting business today in California. And he is the second-best Cowboys player to ever wear #61.