The NFL draft is a little over a week away. I’ll admit that the whole thing fascinates me. From the finest statistical detail to every sports pundit posting their “mock drafts”. They have about about as much clue about what teams will choose what players as any of us.
Or do they?
NFL teams have employees that are charged with unearthing every piece of athletic, character and integrity dirt on every player.
They call them scouts. The NFL pundits are scouts in their profession. And I enjoy listening to their take on who will end up where.
I was reading Nehemiah 2:11-20 this morning and something struck me.
God values a scout that is willing to go first, so that his team can finish first.
Here is what I mean…
Earlier in the Old Testament God sent 12 leaders into Canaan to “scout” out the land that He had promised to them. (That’s in Numbers 13 and 14). Here in Nehemiah 2, something similar happens. In the cover of night, Nehemiah, his horse and a few men close to him went into scout mode. They were inspecting the deteriorating walls of Jerusalem. They told no one they were coming. Just as Joshua, Caleb and the others told no one they were headed to scout out the land of Canaan.
Nehemiah saw broken down walls, and fire ravaged and destroyed gates. He even had to leave his horse behind at one point, because to go where he had to, he had to squeeze through some tight situations. (Ever felt like that? Yeah, Me too).
Then verse 16, specifically the end of it, jumped off the page to me.
“The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others WHO WOULD BE DOING THE WORK”.
Read the words I capitalized above.
That’s a rather presumptuous scout wouldn’t you say?
I am a HUGE Philadelphia Eagles fan. I am trying to picture a scout taking it upon him/herself to gather information no one knows they are taking in, and being so bold as to guarantee that the owner of the team, the general manager and coaching staff are absolutely going to do what he/she says.
That’s either bold or stupid. Maybe a combination of both?
But I would suggest that when you know ahead of time where you have been called to, you are confident in the ending and the how to.
The rest of this story ends in him laying a challenge to the leaders, and the leaders accepting his challenge without hesitation. (Yes, God can make those you wouldn’t think would listen to you, act on the wisdom you bring to the table).
And like any good story, the critics came calling. They mocked them. They ridiculed them.
I imagine it was a little like a Dallas Cowboys beat writer assessing the Philadelphia Eagles selections.
And Nehemiah, ever so gently…yet firm in it’s delivery says…
“The God in heaven will give us success. We His servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it”.
Kind of a Bill Parcells style interview. “We’ll win, and there isn’t a darn thing you are gonna be able to do about it”.
I share this story because of the scout.
Some things “we get” in life. We see when something is broken. We can tell when the dreams that once leaped in our heart feel like they are gone forever. We know the sights and we’ve felt the feelings that go with them.
But it’s the person who will step up and head into the cover of night armed with God’s promises that will experience the restoration.
We’ve all been there at some point in our life. Maybe at home. Maybe it’s at work. A relationship. A marriage. We don’t understand how to connect with our teenagers. We shake our head at the generation coming because they aren’t like us. It’s them, not us…right?
Or we need people to step up.
We need scouts.
We need trailblazers.
We need people who will set aside what they think they know and Go where God has prompted them to go.
The most storied franchises in the NFL are teams you either love, or love to cheer against.
The Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers or New England Patriots. Take your pick.
The reason they have gotten where they have is shared in a rather quiet, yet integral part of their process.
They are organizations who value the scout.
They are teams that will go first, into the dark, and take chances.
And here we are.
Will we go where God is asking us to go, even when we don’t know the results ahead of time?
Some teams sign everyone else’s “star players” after they’ve been let go.
Do you know how many times those teams have gone on to win championships?
Ask the Washington Redskins, and most recently, my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. It doesn’t happen.
I guess that’s why this NFL draft really intrigues me.
My team has a new coach that’s a bit of an unknown. He does things other see as unconventional. BUT HE WINS.
You might say he’s the kind of guy that’ll head into the cover of night against all odds to bring home the win.
Just like Nehemiah.
Just like Caleb.
Just like Joshua.
Is that just like you?
Will you go first?
Watch the video linked below.
And then GO.