Lockout, probation, and ministry opportunities

I’m ready for the NFL lockout to end. Some players are also ready and yet other players will happily sit out the whole year. How long they can go beyond that is anyone’s guess.

Here’s an example of a player taking advantage of the time off, since there really isn’t much of an offseason anymore. Miami Dolphin wide receiver Devon Bess has redeemed his time by heading down to dig ditches in Costa Rica. Not that it would have been terrible for him to go to Los Suenos in search of Pacific Sailfish as I had the opportunity to do so in 2004, but this is certainly a commendable way to spend the lockout. Not motivated by guilt, but instead desire and opportunity, he says:

“I had an epiphany one night. With all I’ve been through on and off the field God has put me in a position to be a difference maker and to change lives,” Bess told Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel

I don’t think I’ll be “drafting” Bess in the early rounds for my fantasy football team this year, but this is one more guy to pull for when/if the 2011 season starts. While not every football player and his mother (literally) are off shooting people (allegedly, though now indicted), some players are doing more than staying out of trouble; they are glorifying God by their good works and others are noticing.

Matt Barkeley, starting QB at USC, was able to go again with his family on a mission trip to Africa last year because his team was ineligible to play in bowl games. He might get to go on another one this year as well.

I think this is a good reminder to us all that “closed doors” like lockouts and probation can lead to great ministry opportunities. Instead of expecting the “closed door” to lead to something easy or more comfortable, perhaps we should consider how the “closed door” might just open the door for us to serve others we’ve previously overlooked.

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