Weekly Devotional

Each week a devotional is sent to recipients around the country.  It begins with a story taken from my personal life, history, news media, or a current trend in society.  The story then connects with relevant passages from the Bible, and concludes with a challenge to consider personal applications.  These devotionals are intended to present the truth of the Bible to a non-christian, enlighten a new believer, as well as provide scriptural insight to the mature Christian.  This week's devotional  is provided below; don't forget to check this page when you return.  Anyone can join the list of recipients by contacting me at know.doubt.268@gmail.com .  There is no charge.  Your address is not shared with anyone.  And you can drop off the mailing list at any time.

it takes a village  (November 24, 2022)

Weathermen in Buffalo, NY forecast the area would get snow.  No big deal, folks in the Niagara Frontier are used to snow. Having lived in Buffalo for several years, I knew the prediction of two feet of snow was no cause for alarm; homes, businesses and highways have equipment.

On November 16th the snow started as flurries, progressed to snow, then heavy snow, then blizzard-like conditions. When it ended early Saturday morning, the total accumulation was 72-80 inches. A bit more than you can sweep off your front steps.

An interesting story associated with this snow storm concerned the Buffalo Bills football team1. You have probably heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child” (attributed possibly to a proverb in some African cultures). The expression can be adapted to the NFL football team and its fans: “It takes a village to shovel snow.”

The Bills were scheduled to play a home game against the Cleveland Browns that Sunday.  The venue was changed to Detroit, in part because the Bills are to play the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. It was one thing to change the location; it was quite another thing for players to get to the airport on Saturday. Many roads were still not plowed and the snow depth in driveways and local roads was taller than many of the players.

The village, collectively known as the Bills Mafia, began arriving Saturday at the homes of players. Defensive back Jordan Poyer lives in Florida in the off-season. When villagers arrived at his Buffalo home, they found the 6-foot player in shorts and sandals trying to get snow off his car. No worries, fans dug him out. Offensive lineman Spencer Brown didn’t own a shovel. Members of the Bills Mafia found the 6-foot 8-inch 320-pound giant using a trash can lid to clear the snow. A group of fans shoveled a long path through the deep snow to reach the home of tackle Dion Dawkins. Shovels, snow blowers, and plows attached to garden tractors dug out other players. The entire team was able to reach the Bills stadium on time to board buses to the airport. Thanks to an entire village.

The Bills Mafia demonstrated they were more than a fan club; they were a village. Fans cheer when their team scores; a village responds to needs outside the walls of the stadium.

The concept of an entire village helping snow-bound professional football players has a take-home message for all of us. You might make more money and be healthier and stronger than most everyone, but you will need a village of faithful people to get through a storm that is bigger than you. These are the occasions where an event overwhelms your ability to cope. We are like David, feeling we are in deep water up to our neck, throat parched from crying for help, eyes weary from looking for God (Psalm 69:1-3). Or like the disciples who found themselves in the midst of a furious storm, and cried for the Lord to save them (Matthew 8:23-26). At times we waiver in our faith, imagining the Lord is not listening or acting quickly enough. In such crises, if we look around, we might see an entire village coming to help.

Imagine a crisis in your life the size of a blizzard. You are trying to shovel through it with a trash can lid. You can’t keep up; the crisis covers your home and family; you are going nowhere.   Then you hear the sound of villagers approaching, all ages, each dressed differently and carrying an assortment of God-given tools.  No discussion of your income, lifestyle, or religious persuasion. The villagers focus on helping you overcome your predicament.

Jesus never called us to be a fan club, but to be a village of faithful followers. We may cheer a good sermon or a song, yet the core of our faith is to follow the commands of the Lord. If we truly love Him, we take care of the sheep (John 21:16), regardless if they are the size of a football lineman or the very least of society (Matthew 25:40). It takes a village to save one person, feed a hungry family, or pray with a stranger.  What village are you part of?

1  https://buffalonews.com/news/local/ Nov 19, 2022