As a Chicago Bears fan, I can't say I was all teary-eyed when I heard earlier this week about the retirement of Brett Favre from professional football. I always enjoyed beating the Packers. Favre stole too many of those games away with some bizarre lucky play. Of course he gave a few away by throwing foolish interceptions as well, so it's probably even.
Everyone always seemed to glow about Favre, not necessarily because of the games he won or the touchdowns he threw. It always seemed to be about the way he played the game. He was the Pete Rose of football -- the guy who played with all his heart and soul.
But at the press conference where #4 announced he was calling it quits, he didn't look like he was a kid playing a game. He didn't look like he couldn't wait to run out on the field and let a few 50-yard bombs fly. He looked tired. And to back it up, Favre said he was tired. Mentally. Physically. Tired.
So after 17 seasons in the pros, 4 in college and most of his life growing up, Brett Favre is too tired to devote himself to playing football anymore.
I can relate. I'm tired too. The main difference is that there was no danger of me taking the field to rifle a few throws at acrobatic receivers. But I understand some of what Favre is going through. I've had plenty of Monday mornings where I didn't feel strong enough to start work on another Sunday service or any other administrative work of the church. There have been plenty of Monday mornings that I haven't felt good enough to head out to my secular job. Tuesday mornings too. And Wednesdays. And... well, you get the idea. So why do I go?
I suppose it's a sense of duty and commitment at my secular job, and a sense of calling for the pastorate. But I'm still tired. I'm tired of trying to run the ministries of the church with only a handful of people willing to do the work. I'm tired of doing the same old nonsense day after day at my secular job. I'm tired of the hardships and the setbacks and the disappointments.
But I go on. But it's not my own strength. I ran out of that years ago.
I can pretend that I'm superhuman, but I'm not. My strength is in the Lord. And when I try to convince myself that I am strong, something will usually happen to remind me just how strong I am not. But fortunately, I am weak but He is strong.
And so on those mornings (and afternoons and evenings) when I don't feel ready to try to round up a volunteer at the church or perform the same old tasks at work, and like Brett Favre, I feel like calling it quits for a while, I lean upon the Lord and accept the strength He gives me. Like after waking up from a good night's sleep, I head off refreshed and ready to go on.
Tonight I'm ready for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow, with God's strength, I'll head off to work again to do what he has called me to do. And luckily for football fans everywhere, I won't be chucking the pigskin around. Besides, you don't want to see me in those tight football pants.