I realize this might not be of great interest to you, but tomorrow (January 4) is known as “Black Monday.” Tomorrow is recognized as Black Monday because several National Football League coaches are expected to be fired from their jobs. Each year somewhere between five and twelve coaches are sent packing on Black Monday and it appears from the expert analysts that five coaches could find the pink slip in their mailboxes tomorrow. (So shouldn’t it be Pink Monday?)
Now I realize the firing of these coaches isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of our lives. However, even though NFL coaches earn an average of 6-7 million dollars per year, I still find myself feeling disappointed for some of them. I mean, they’re only human.
Of course, there are going to be occasions when a coach makes a bad decision that might cost them a game. And should a team owner expect a coach to perfectly train and prepare each player? Is it the coach’s fault when a player drops the ball in the end zone? And ponder this, is it really “Christian” to fire a coach when he never really knew how many players would miss games because of COVID-19? And should a coach be fired because he can’t seem to motivate his team?
As I was reflecting on Black Monday, I tried to imagine, what if God was like an NFL owner. Would God terminate me for the way I treat Vicki? Would he expect me to place higher value on her? Or would God have fired me for the way I discipled my children when they were younger. And what feedback would God give me for how I interact with my children now?
And when it comes to being a neighbor or citizen in the community, I wonder if God would demerit my leadership and effort in working together in harmony. And regarding my management of God’s checkbook, what would he think about my investments?
And then last but not least, I wonder, how would God assess my leadership role in his church? Would God be disappointed by my lack of seeking his counsel? Would God begin searching for my replacement because of my lack of dependence on his Holy Spirit? Would he let me go because I erred on the side of too much grace or too much truth? Or would I find the pink slip under my door for my poor decisions in both word and deed?
As I reflected on how God dealt with his chosen leaders in the Bible, I acknowledge my hope and peace rests in his grace. I can only take comfort in his patience and grace filled way knowing there is no Black Monday for those he loves. Yes, I will experience his loving discipline from time to time in order that I might more faithfully lead like his Son. But like Abraham, Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, and Paul, I am grateful his mercies are new every day.
I stand in agreement with Jeremiah’s journal entry in Lamentations 3 (MSG), “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.
May it be so with you and me that we find great delight having a clean slate for 2021 as we work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to apprentice future generations who passionately proclaim and demonstrate the good news of the kingdom of God.
Happy New Year! Mike Altena