So sometimes we oversimplify things. We may just crack the Word open to look for a quick confirmation of our latest hunch. Or we'll make ourselves sit and read because we made a promise that this time we really would read the Bible in a year (even if we don't understand it). After all, isn't that our obligation to God?
If you're like me you'd like to tug the hand of Jesus and say, "Lord, just tell me my part in all of this? How do I follow after you?" Well, playing football with my sons I was provided some insight.
I was playing QB, and my 6 year old was my wide receiver. His 8 year old brother was trying his best to intercept my passes. When I realized he was having no trouble getting in the way of all my throws, I pulled my young receiver aside. We huddled close together and I did what backyard QB's have been doing for nearly a century...I diagramed the next play on the front of my T-shirt. As my older boy tried to peek at the plan from a distance, I pulled Brady near to me and pointed to my chest. I began to draw out his route, pointing to where he would run and I would pass.
"Brady you need to run diagonally toward the tree, make a quick left, stop, spin back toward me, and then head deep the other way toward the street."
"Huh?" he replied. "Daddy I can't remember all that."
I went through it all again. "Diagonal toward the tree, quick left, stop, spin back, then head out toward the street, open your arms and boom it'll be in your hands."
He gently tugged my shirt which had served as the canvas for a playbook, and sweetly pleaded, "Daddy...just tell me my part."
Acknowledging the absurdity of my coaching I put my arm around him and said, "Brady, run as fast and far as you can and open your arms wide."
Walking back from our 2 man huddle I realized, Brady just wanted it put simply. He wanted to know his part, the main thing he was supposed to do. He didn't feel he could handle all the extra stuff right at the moment, he just wanted to know the most important thing.
If we're in a 2 man huddle with Jesus, tug his garment and plead, "Just tell me my part," I think He may very well repeat what he said in the 13th chapter of John's Gospel. "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (v.34).
Love one another. Simple. That's our part. Sure there is a lot else for us to know, and the 66 books in the Bible go into great detail with God's promises, desires, expressions of love and stories of redemption. Sometimes those feel like the diagonal sprints, spins, and deep routes toward the street. All vital, but not the most important. A short book in the back of our Bible tells us "believing in the One God sent" and then "loving one another" is our part (1st John 3:23).
With 783,000 words to consider in the Bible, don't lose sight of the three that tell us our part...love one another. There are lots of other things we need to learn, but every play we run, no matter our position on the team, has the same assignment every time: love one another.