The Perfect Playbook

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. — Psalm 119:105

Have you ever played that party game that starts with a phrase whispered from person to person until the last individual repeats out loud what he was told? Most of the time it’s unrecognizable from the original statement and everyone has a good laugh. It is amazing how easy it is for us to miscommunicate with each other. 

Early in my NFL career I had the distinct displeasure of experiencing a similar failure to communicate. At the time I was the offensive coordinator for John McKay at Tampa Bay. John had always called the plays for his offense, but when I joined his coaching staff he was willing to turn play calling over to me. This was before we had electronic communications between the sideline and the quarterback, so we devised a system of hand signals to relay the plays. 

Our play-calling system got o to a good start but the season didn’t; we lost our first two games. Coach McKay pulled me aside in practice one day. “Joe, I’m not comfortable with these hand signals,” he said. “I want you to tell a player on the sideline what play you want; he can run in and tell Doug Williams (our quarterback), then Doug will call the play to the team in the huddle. This way I can hear what you’re calling without having to understand these signals.” 

We tried this system but lost the next two games. “Okay, Joe,” Coach said, “I can tell you are not comfortable calling the plays from the sidelines. I want you to go up to the coaches’ booth and phone the play down to an assistant coach. He can repeat the call to a player who will take the play into the quarterback, who will then repeat the play to the team.” 

Now let’s think about the real-time mechanics of this system. I’ve got to call the play through to the headset to one of my assistants. He then gives it to the wide receiver. One of our typical plays was “Trips Right Fake Zoom Liz 585 F Cross Sneak.” You can only imagine giving this play to a receiver who’s already been hit in the head a few times. The next game I barely recognized three plays we called. In the immortal words of the warden from the movie Cool Hand Luke, what we had at Tampa Bay that season was a bona de “failure to communicate.” 

To me this illustration reinforces the extraordinary nature of the Bible. There is no miscommunication within its pages. Though written by more than forty men over 1,500 years, it remains our perfect playbook for the game of life. Two thousand years later the Bible provides clear insight and guidance to those who seek it. This book is a miracle book that had to be God inspired. 

The Bible also brings God closer to us — in our times of need and in times of prosperity: 

Yet You are near, Lord, and all Your commands are true. Long ago I learned from Your statutes that You established them to last forever. — Psalm 119:151-152

When we are desperate, the Holy Spirit communicates to us through God’s Word that we are not alone. When we are flying high, we are reminded to keep things in perspective. The stories of great men and women like David and Ruth serve as guideposts for us; the Gospel tells us the good news of Jesus Christ. What a playbook! 

I’m just your “average Joe,” and like you, I’m looking for practical tools to help me get through life. The Bible is the most practical and valuable resource I have in my possession. I’ve learned to turn to it daily and find it always lights my path — no matter how good or bad things are going for me. My hope is that you will learn this truth for yourself. 

Dear Father, thank You for Your playbook, the Bible. Please help me to learn to turn to it during good and bad times. Help me realize that within its pages are the exact plays, guidance, and encouragement I need to win in the game of life. Amen. 

Excerpted with permission from Game Plan for Life: Chalk Talks by Joe Gibbs, copyright Joe Gibbs.

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Your Turn

Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida is today! Who are you rooting for? But, aside from football, let’s remember that we have been given the perfect playbook by God – the Bible. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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