On this past Sunday, Tom Brady won his fifth Super Bowl in a dazzling fashion as he came back from a 25 point deficit to win in overtime. I hated it! I am not a Patriots or a Tom Brady fan, but I do recognize that he has a great biographical story. He was a 6th round pick in the draft and pretty much discarded as being too slow, too unathletic, and too weak to be a good quarterback in the NFL. In fact, Tom Brady started as a backup quarterback to Drew Bledsoe. He has gone from backup to arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. By stepping in for Bledsoe years ago, Brady has ushered in an era of Patriot greatness that is really unrivaled in NFL history. Have I told you that I hate it?
However, Tom Brady’s story reminds me of how important backups are in sports. I learned this firsthand years ago when I played football and was on a team that had been so decimated by injuries that one of our positions was down to its last possible player. I can remember the coach urgently yelling at this player as he ran on the field, “You don’t have a backup!” I can also remember the panic that came over us as teammates as we realized that whatever was going to be done at that position, only one person could do it. I remember thinking that if he got hurt, we would have a void on our team and on the field that would most likely cripple our chances of winning that day. Finally, I remember the terrifying, yet awesome reality of what it must feel like to be the only person that can do what you do.
In some sense, this is the reality of each and every one of our lives. Scripture reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14). Just like we each have an inimitable fingerprint, we also have a purpose for our lives that we are uniquely created to perform. Our lives, experiences, situations, families, friends, and mentors uniquely shape and mold us such that we are fitted to fulfill a Divine purpose. We have been created and preserved to get on the field and do something only we can do. And we do not have backups! When we choose to live beneath our potential and below our purpose, we leave an eternal void in the world that no one can fill quite like us.
I want to remind you today that you do not have a backup. Your life is profoundly meaningful and unique, and we ought to live everyday with the urgency of a person who could rob the world of the blessing that is your purpose. Your call cannot be answered by anyone but you. Your position cannot be played by anyone but you. Without your contribution, the world loses something it can never get back. So, move into the rest of your life knowing the terrifying, yet awesome reality that you are the only person in the world that can do what you were created to do.
Humbly in Christ’s Love,