One of the funniest things I ever saw on a football field involved a friend of mine named Richie Jarrett and his son, Dylan. If you’ll bear with me while I set up the story, I think you’ll be glad you did. Trust me, it’s a good story.
First, Richie was coaching Dylan in a youth football game. Second, Dylan was playing quarterback. Third, at this level of league play the coach was allowed to literally be on the field so that he could stand in the huddle and call the plays rather than try to do the play-calling from the sidelines. Fourth, Richie called a play in which Dylan kept the ball and ran with it. Fifth, the play quickly turned into a complete disaster as Dylan hardly got out of his tracks before he got creamed by what looked like half the other team.
Everybody knew why the play had turned into such a debacle: Dylan’s offensive linemen hadn’t blocked a soul. And I assure you this fact wasn’t lost on Dylan. That’s why he was hopping mad with his linemen when he got up from the bottom of that pile of defensive players. Then came the moment I’ll never forget. As Dylan stomped back to Richie for another huddle, the little fellow shouted out to him in utter disgust, “Daddy, they won’t block!”
Have you ever been there? Have you ever taken it on the chin because somebody else didn’t do their job? Have you ever had to pay for somebody else’s shortcomings? My guess is that we have all felt that kind of sting at one point or another. Speaking as a pastor, I can’t even begin to count the times when I’ve had to do a church job that someone else in the church was more talented, gifted, and available to do, but I got piled on because that other person wouldn’t block.
Unfortunately, you just can’t make others do, can you? And equally as unfortunately it’s not like the work slows down in consideration of the fact that some people aren’t doing their share of it. No, the work marches unceasingly forward, forevermore piling up to whatever degree it gets left undone. Welcome to life.
So, for anyone out there reading this who feels overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done, let me offer a word of encouragement. Actually, it’s a word that I once heard famed preacher Adrian Rogers give in a sermon. He said, “You’ve got enough time each day to do everything that God wants you to do.”
Ah, there’s the secret, isn’t it? We must learn to build our days around doing only those things that God wants us to do. That, ladies and gentlemen, is decidedly different from doing all the things that others want us to do.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, N.K.J.V., underlined emphasis mine). What these words from Christ teach us is that Jesus isn’t in the business of burning out His servants. As I once heard another notable preacher, John Hunter, say of these words, “Serving Jesus isn’t go, go, go and do, do, do.”
Keep this in mind, Christian, anytime you feel weighted down by a workload that has been created for you because other people won’t block. The Lord doesn’t expect you to be all things to all people and corkscrew yourself into a state of exhaustion in the process. He just expects you to be the person He wants you to be and do only the work that He calls you to do each day.
Admittedly, some days will be busier than others, and, yes, there will be times when He will want you to pick up the slack left behind by others. But if you think that His plan for you is to work you like a pack mule until you break down physically, emotionally, or spiritually, you are surely serving the wrong Master. The God who said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” isn’t a harsh taskmaster or (getting back to my opening illustration) an overly demanding coach. He does understand a lack of blocking, and He does care deeply about any individual who pays the price for it.