Yesterday marked the end of an era. One of the greatest QBs to ever play in the NFL hung up his cleats for the last time. He was great because he played full-out. He left nothing in the tank and everything on the field. He played to win. There are many people in life that rather than playing to win, they play to avoid losing. Playing to win is an entirely different mindset, and it is what separates average performers from high performers. He was not afraid to take risks because he had no fear of losing. Losing was not the worst thing that could happen. Giving less than everything in order to win was.
I watched with sadness as he said his goodbyes. He was gripped with the emotion of a man who was passionate about what he did, who he did it with, and who he did it for. There are a lot of lessons that run in parallel with my post from yesterday (Burning Man). But I’d like to highlight a few parting quotes from Favre:
“People talk about the records. But it was never about me. It was always about the team.”
In life and in ministry, it has to be about more than just us. If life is only about us, it becomes a very small, and very unsatisfying existence. But when we give ourselves to others, when we give ourselves to Jesus Christ and accomplishing his work in the world, then we become part of a larger team. And we are lifted out of smallness into something that is larger than ourselves.
I pray that for me, it will never be just about “records”, but that it will always be about lifting the team to new heights. I pray that the success of the church and the accomplishments of the kingdom will always be a higher priority for me than my own status. And I want to be just as passionate about what I do, who I do it with, and who I am doing it for.
“I’ve given everything I’ve got. I have nothing left to give.”
What a truly wonderful thing to say when you’ve come to the end of your journey. It reminds me of very similar words spoken by the Apostle Paul (who would have been a huge Brett Favre fan) to Timothy as his life journey was coming to an end:
2 Timothy 4:6-8 – 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
Favre has a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame, the ultimate reward for a career well-played. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have an even greater reward awaiting us. (If you don’t know for sure what awaits you at the end of your journey, make sure to read the tab at the top of the page titled “Main Thing”). May we play with the same commitment to excellence and as full of passion as Brett Favre.
Even though I’m in Bear country, I’ll miss you Brett!