A SURE FOOTING
By John Hunt
"He certainly has a firm foundation!" the doctor exclaimed, holding my unusually large feet up in the air in a public display of proclamation. Evidently, I had healthy lungs, too, as I screamed uncontrollably.
You would think that after having that statement proclaimed at my birth, along with having a former professional football player bring me into this world, that I myself would have been destined for greatness on the gridiron. In actuality, I never played the game. And my feet never grew bigger than size 9Ĺ.
Joe Kopcha was a professional football player with the American football team, the Chicago Bears from 1929 to 1934 under the famous George S. Halas. He had made All-Pro Guard for four years, having the honorable distinction of being included in the Pro-digest All-Pro Guard for the decade of 1930 to 1939. A member of the 1932 and 1933 National Football League Championship Squads, he played beside such greats as Red Grange, George Musso, and Bronko Nagurski.
And he was a gynecologist.
Now, you might ask yourself, what was this former football player doing delivering babies? Thatís a question Iíve never quite been able to answer, although I presume that in a day and age before lucrative contracts and superstar status ensured a lifetime of opportunities after football, one would actually have to have a day job. That, and Iíve been told that he really loved people.
Regardless of whatever reason this former football player had for becoming a gynecologist, the story of my auspicious birth has been told and retold to me by my mother since I was a child. Iíve worn it like a badge of honor. Itís not everyone, after all, who has a professional football player bring him into this world - particularly a player from his favorite team who played during an era when that team would actually win. But since Iíve grown older, and ergo a little wiser (arguably), something else has impressed me about the day of my birth, something that the doctor said: "He has a firm foundation".
Maybe that was a common saying in Dr. Kopchaís day, I donít know. Maybe it was like saying he has his fatherís nose, or his motherís smile, or his grandfatherís hairline. But whatever the case, it seems to me that it was almost prodigious.
In football, a firm foundation is essential to any winning team. Proper footing can make the difference between scoring a touchdown and being stopped in the red zone; between making the game-saving tackle and missing a play.
Additionally, without the foundation of a strong offensive line, the quarterback would have no time to make a pass and the running back would be tackled well behind the line of scrimmage.
In life, a firm foundation is of even more importance than in any sporting event. Without the foundation of a proper education in childhood, one could never hope to function in modern society. A lifestyle that is void of a foundation of exercise and proper nutrition will inevitably reap the ill effects of such indiscipline. And similarly, sound financial health is the result of a life built upon the foundation of fiscal restraint, investment and saving.
Most of all, though, our life is in woeful peril without a spiritual foundation. Jesus warned us about the foolish man who built his house upon a foundation of sand. The rains came, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell. But everyone who puts his faith in Jesus Christ is like a wise man that built his house upon the rock. The rains came, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against it, but it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-27)
I was fortunate to have a foundation of being raised in church. My parents would never miss a Sunday of taking my sisters and me to Sunday school and worship service. They would even teach us about the Bible at home, about right and wrong, and about the golden rule. But this foundation, as strong as it was, would be grievously inadequate apart from a personal relationship with my Creator. It was only after coming into that relationship that I learned the timeless truth about a true foundation Ė that the only foundation that will ever last is one that is built upon a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. And that truth must be followed each and every day. (Luke 9:23)
As I watched the Super Bowl last month, I paused for a moment to take inventory of my life. Is my footing preparing me for the ultimate touchdown, or will I be tackled behind the line of scrimmage? Perhaps you could ask yourself the same questions.
Letís all make sure that our foundation is one that takes us to the goal.
"HeÖwho comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practiceÖis like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Luke 6:46-48 NIV)
John Hunt lives near Chicago, Illinois, with his wife of ten years and three children. He is the author of the novel, In The Image of the Beast and the childrenís book, The Mistaken Stone, both of which are awaiting publication. You may contact John through the Letters page of this magazine.
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