A “TD” is a touchdown, also known as “crossing the goal line,” “getting in the end zone,” and simply “scoring,” the TD is a measure–maybe the most emphasized measure–of a player’s success. Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, a halfback from tiny California Lutheran College, all 5’10” and 200 pounds of him, played seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers. His name was Hank Bauer.
Most of his rushing statistics are quite forgettable. He ran the ball only 123 times for 377 yards, for an unimpressive 3.1 yards per rush. For the uninformed, those numbers will not get you into the Hall of Fame. It will land you on the practice squad. But, Hank Bauer was the ultimate opportunist. Running the ball, he broke the plane of the goal line eighteen times! 18 TDs in 123 carries is incredible! In 1978, he scored more rushing TDs than the great Franco Harris. He ran for more TDs than 1,000 yard rushers Terry Miller (Bills), Tony Reed (Chiefs), Tony Dorsett (Cowboys) and John Riggins (Redskins) did. In 1979, he ran for more TDs than Dorsett, Ottis Anderson (who ran for over 1,600 yards), Terry Bell (1,253 yards), and William Andrews (1,023 yards). Running for 1,000 yards is the watermark that determines success for running backs. But, Hank Bauer scored 8 TDs while carrying the ball 22 times for a whopping 28 yards! He also scored two TDs catching the ball, though he caught only 12 passes for a measly 97 yards in his career.
If you had trouble understanding the data above, Hank Bauer made the most of his limited opportunities. He came out of a tiny college, proving himself so important and dependable that he was given the ball whenever the Chargers were near the goal line. Twenty times, Bauer cashed in on his opportunities.
What about you? How much are you making of your opportunities? You were born in the wealthiest nation in the world, if you are in America. You have the world’s best healthcare, housing, food, raw materials, technology, water works, and standards of living. You also live in a nation that, by percentage, has more Christians than any other on the globe. It can be assumed that, since you are reading this article, you have also been exposed somewhere along the line to God’s plan of salvation (If not, here it is: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, and Be Baptized. Write me for more details). There is a pretty good chance you are a New Testament Christian.
Are you taking advantage of your opportunities? To pray? To attend worship services and Bible classes in a land fully granting you the freedom to do so? To study your Bible? To tell a lost soul about Jesus? To shine the light of Christ? To lead your family to heaven?
Pro football has had few Hank Bauers. On the other hand, a goodly number of Heisman Trophy winners (remember Larry Kelly, John Huarte, Gary Beban, Steve Owen, Pat Sullivan, Gino Torretta, Rahsaan Salaam, Eric Crouch, and Troy Smith?) fizzled out when given the opportunity to transform college immortality into professional greatness. I fear that too many of us squander our opportunities to use their time, money, energy, and abilities for God and good! Whether misplaced priorities or crippling sin habits or materialistic greed or simple apathy and inactivity or fear, too many of us are dropping the proverbial ball!
Make the most of your opportunities. Find folks to teach. Find time to develop your relationship with God. Find a way to defeat the sin in your life. Find the church building when the saints are meeting. Find out how good it feels to make the most of your opportunities for the Lord! In the end, you will find Heaven’s “Hall of Fame.”