I grew up in a family that spent a lot of time around the football (American) field. My dad was a high school coach; my earliest memories are of climbing around on the bleachers during the games. I attended almost every home game for my high school team during my teen years, then returned to watch my brother play football. I love the game. One of the cheers I remember from those days was simply, First and ten, do it again!!
This the best definition I have found for First and Ten: The term “1st and 10” says that the offensive team is at first down, which is the first of four chances the team has to get the ball past a certain number of yards. The 10 refers to the number of yards left. If the offensive team is able to gain these 10 yards within their 4 downs, they will get another first down and ten yards to run. This continues until either the team scores (by means of a touchdown or field goal), or the team fails to cover the ten yards within four downs, in which case, possession of the ball will be given to the other team.*
One of my favorite epistles is the book of James. When I need to settle down in my spirit and recenter my focus on Christ, James is the book I turn to first. While reading James 1 this morning I found cross references to Proverbs 10. As I turned to read the verses in Proverbs 10, I found the same themes repeated. Choices of righteousness over worldly successes. The fleeting experience of life when the focus is only on the here and now.
Yes, I know Scripture is going to draw across verses and books; to show us as believers and seekers that God is the same from the beginning of time through now. The “randomness” of a chapter in Proverbs reflecting the same perspective of the half brother of Jesus during the persecution of the first century Church is anything but randomness.
Reading the verses of each chapter back to back I let the words echo a bit more in my heart and spirit. Oh how my God is so good to me. Just as in football, I found a yearning to continue going forward. A desire to drive on, push through, and keep advancing in the Holy Spirit– seeking my God above all the things that pull at my attention. From the sense of urgency the world wants to put on me to measure up, to slim down, to buy, to believe the glitterati that only the here and now matter.
Best Beloved, I long for your hearts to know the peace that comes from seeking God first, knowing His love and His plans are always best. Set aside ten to fifteen minutes today and read through the verses I’ve included below. Let them pour over you, soaking into your hearts and minds. May we find our souls chanting First and ten, do it again!