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!