How did your team do yesterday? With the start of the NFL season, most teams were in action on Sunday which means that, today, half of the fans are ecstatic and the other half are in despair. For instance, the Texans, won—meaning obviously that the Colts they played against lost. For Houston fans, that is really big. After all, the first game is important because momentum can be such a huge thing in the NFL, not to mention the fact that Houston's win could be a step towards ending the domination Indy has had on the AFC South for most of the decade. But there is a necessary caution—it is only one game out of 16. The season only starts here, it certainly doesn’t end here. For that reason, winning teams better not get too cocky, and losing teams need not be overly-discouraged. There is a lot of work ahead, and it requires the stamina and perseverance of the long haul, not the exhilaration of a speed sprint. Buckle in, fans, it is a long, long ride. This is true of life as well. That is why the writer of Hebrews said, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Heb.12:1) It is the long run that concerns us, and that requires commitment and endurance. But, it also requires us to realize that we cannot do that in our own strength. For that reason, the writer continues:

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Heb.12:2-3)

The journey is a long one and today’s victories or setbacks will not constitute the end of the story. But it is only in the grace and example of our Lord that we can stick it out for the long haul. We desperately need this perspective—we desperately need Him. Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain