Remember the Titans ranks high on any list of sport’s movies. At the beginning of the film, the team loads the bus heading to Gettysburg for training camp. Head Coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, hand his offensive coaches the rather thin playbook. He responds to their comment on the playbook by saying, “I run six plays, split veer. It’s like Novocain. Just give it time, it always works.”
Simplifying the playbook and remaining disciplined to six plays can sound old-fashioned and monotonous. We have a difficult time with commitment. Some of us would rather run to a new idea as opposed to completing the path before us. We self-diagnose ourselves with ADD.
Maybe part of growing faith means sticking to six plays rather than adding more. What do we miss when we run from idea to idea; small group to small group; book to book; practice to practice? Our impatience can lead us to miss out on growth we might have experienced.
Eugene Peterson in the Long Obedience in the Same Direction makes this observation:
We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous, because God sticks with us. Christian Discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention on our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm. It is out of such reality that we acquire perseverance (pg. 133)
I wonder if sometimes God invites us to experience growth in a far less complicated way. At the heart of growing in faith, may not come from increasing a to-do list or additional act but from releasing our focus on ourselves to recognize God at work.
The grace you may need to grow may have more to do with sticking with a thinner playbook. We fill out schedules. We add more books to the list. We jump to the next event. Thinking that our effort alone will manufacture faith. We miss the slow, patient, stick-to-it grace offered to us by Jesus.
All throughout the Scripture we notice growth in the picture of crops and trees because God grows us through a process so that we might know Him; planting, watering, growing, harvest. We respond to His work in our lives. He invites us to a thinner playbook to grow.
How might God call you to simplify your life to recognize Him?