MALCOLM BUTLER: The Undrafted Rookie!

They call him an undrafted rookie!  But, as an undrafted rookie, Malcolm Butler was prepared for the one moment that would catapult him into notoriety.  It didn’t matter that few knew his name or that he hailed from humble beginnings.  His was not a direct route to the NFL.  His promise was not obvious or noted.  But, Malcolm Butler was ready when opportunity was given him to come forth out of obscurity to contribute to the game and help his teammates on to victory.  His background didn’t matter, his size didn’t matter, his rookie status didn’t matter, and it didn’t matter that he was never drafted.

What mattered was that Malcolm Butler was there and he was ready!  His reaction to the initial reality of it all suggested that he was profoundly thankful that his ‘vision’ had become his reality.  Going in, he was not the expected game changer or potentially the most valued, the star, or the team’s branded name.  He only saw himself contributing to make a difference and was ready to play.  And his humble spirit is now the observation of proud family and friends from his home state of Mississippi, the University of West Alabama, Hinds Community College and countless others who’d never heard of him.  But, they know him now.  The masses know that Malcolm Butler caught the interception that sealed the game for the World Champion New England Patriots.

“Malcolm Butler’s Journey From ‘Good Employee’ at Popeye’s to Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX Hero” is the headline in the Washington Post.  Now that is notoriety!  But, reading the article, one will soon discover that it is also testimony.  A testimony of struggle, disappointment, fortitude, determination, endurance and hard work.  Simply stated, it is amazing.

Many of us may have a similar opportunity to make a difference somewhere in life, perhaps not with so much coverage by the news media outlets, but a significant contribution to an individual or even to the world longing for something good, authentic or life altering.  That one contribution can make things better at a key moment in time and have far reaching consequences.  The question for many of us is simple, will we be ready when the opportunity presents itself?

And what is readiness?  It is fitness and form for making significant contributions.  It is steadfastness when opportunity seems aloof and afar off.  It is focus upon a vision or calling that may not draw attention or labeling for the ‘first draft.’  It is humility within that appreciates small things that may prepare one for the possibility of greater things.  It is working hard at every task and giving your best to every attempt at making a difference.  And when the time comes, you’re in place prepared to do or achieve what others may never imagine.

This 24 year old has an amazing attitude toward the simple things of life that have grown and developed through struggle.  Things haven’t been ideal, they’re still not ideal!  But, Malcolm Butler’s name is indelibly marked upon NFL history and in our conversation because of his readiness for the big game.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”  I Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV

Be ye also ready!

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THE BUDDING CAMELLIA DURING WINTER

The Camellia, a shrub whose leaves are seen here, produces a waxy, perfectly shaped bloom of beauty in winter landscapes and conditions, maintaining its dark, glossy green leaves as another unique form of ‘the evergreen.’  This one produces a bi-colored flower of red and white. At a glance, it looks like a rose, but closer examination reveals a character and beauty all its own.  In warmer climates, this shrub can grow into a tree.

This bud caught my attention today on my stroll in the backyard.  With everything around it brown or tan and lying in wait for the warmer season, this Camellia is full with its green leaves, brown flowers that have expressed their beauty in spite of very chilling conditions, and these buds that await opportunity and the right time to open up to lend its beauty to the landscape.  These buds, when opened, will stand out because of their life and beauty during a challenging time for much of creation.

There are people who stand out to make a difference during the harshest of times.  They look for opportunities for service or giving without much concern for notoriety or gain.  They are people who look at life unselfishly and empty themselves that others might be aided in the struggle of life.  These kind of people follow something outside themselves, a power greater than any they may observe or feel.  They look beyond the ordinary or common to follow the lead of deep passion rooted in eternity.  They are willing to lose everything because they have already gained everything.  They have seen God!  Have you seen God?

In the Bible, men came inquiring, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21 NKJV)  Still, today’s world conducts an inquiry every day in much the same way . . . “we wish to see Jesus.”   Are there yet budding ‘followers of Christ’ who can introduce Him to others that might also ‘follow Him?’

Seeing God makes the difference in life and springs forth into budding opportunities to live with purpose and meaning while telling others about Him.  Serving this present age becomes a passion when one sees the Lord and decides to follow Him.  That is the ‘follower of Christ’ mandate.  Instead of pondering whether one should be on the right or the left, can we be ‘behind?’  Can we FOLLOW Him?  Can today’s Christians get behind the Lord to follow Him through denial of self, taking up the cross of service and sacrifice, and serving the needs of others?

This shrub has brown, fading flowers and a host of buds awaiting their chance to bloom.  They represent the past and possibility!

Is that a good description of your life . . . some brown, fading blooms but a host of buds awaiting their chance to bloom?  You’ve done some good things . . . but are there buds awaiting to blossom into greater works?

You’re not finished yet.  There is still meaning and beauty to share into the lives of others that are searching and hoping for something better.  The glance, glimpse, or perhaps the closer examination of your personal witness of following Christ will be the proving point for many to find the reality of possibility and potential.  You can find it and others can too when WE are willing to follow Him!

Does the camellia describe you?  As it warms up the landscape with its character and beauty, you too can shine in abundance of characteristic Christ-like beauty in the midst of these harsh and hard times!

Share your abundant life and witness of Christ with others!  By following Him and denying self, in these harsh and challenging times, we may find life, full of the abundance of evergreen and budding possibility.