The NFL Draft was last Saturday and Sunday. And yes, I’m one of the football starved degenerates (I’m mad there’s no NFL-Europe anymore) that actually gets excited about it. Of course I had an elder retreat, sermon prep, and dinner with friends on Saturday night that precluded me from wasting my time following it. And just for the record, I DO think I could do a better job drafting than the Bucs usually do. But I’m probably wrong.
Anyhow there are two dominant strategies for how to pick a player: go with an area of need (for instance if you need a QB, then pick the best QB you can) or simply go with the best overall player available, regardless of need. Either way a team is obviously picking a person based solely on what they can bring to the ball club.
While I believe it is important to network as much as possible (two of my musicians for our upcoming Coffeehouse came from networking: they were friends/contacts of my friends), I need to be very careful not to treat relationships like an NFL draft. We are all prone to pick relationships based upon what others can do for us.
But the pattern we see in Jesus’ behavior and heart is very much the opposite. He perfectly modeled Phil 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” I’m not discounting the need to have friendships that build you up and don’t drain you. We need these.
But I know my tendency is to look at people like I would if I were drafting them to make “my team” better. Yet if I look at Jesus’ life, he builds his team not with high draft picks, but with un-drafted free agents that all other teams look over. And strangely enough, just like football, these un-drafted free agents can (they don’t have to) do amazing things for His Kingdom. Interestingly enough, retired Denver Bronco’s receiver Rod Smith, undrafted out of Missouri Southern State University, is the NFL’s 15th leading receiver.
But our final motivation to not look at others like an NFL draft is that Jesus doesn’t look at us like that. Fortunately. He didn’t choose us because of what we could do for him but simply out of love.