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The Kicker

THE PLACE OF THE KICKER IN NFL history is an interesting study. For many years, kickers were not held in very high esteem. Consider the following:

In 1971 when Mary Levy went to the Washington Redskins to coach special teams for George Allen, there were only two fulltime special team coaches in the league. Usually, special team duties were simply added to another coach's responsibility and received little work. However, the next season when the Redskins blocked fifteen kicks, including one that pulled them to within seven of the undefeated Dolphins in Super Bowl VII, other teams in the league took notice.

The fact the Jan Stenerud is the only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his kicking speaks volumes about how kicking was viewed in the early days of the NFL.

If you are a professional football fan, then you know that a great deal more emphasis is placed on kickers and special teams today. Today, top kickers command multi-million dollar salaries. With just over 46 percent of games being decided by 7 points or less and 24 percent of games being decided by 3 points or less (in the last 20 years), the emphasis on kicking seems warranted. The kicker can be, and often is, the difference between a win or a loss.

I have told you all of these football facts to make a point. I am afraid that many congregations look at some of their members in the way the NFL teams used to look at kickers and other special team players. They emphasize a few "important" players but overlook others.

Of course, God in His wisdom has always emphasized the importance of every member. Paul emphasized to the Corinthians that the foot was not to say, "Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body" (1 Corinthians 12:15). Furthermore, the head was not to say to the feet, "I have not need of thee" (1 Corinthians 12:21). God put every member into the body for a reason. Every member in the body is important—even the foot.

The health and happiness of the body are dependent upon each of its members. Whether the team that we are a part of wins or loses will depend in part upon how we see the "little" members of the team. If we realize their importance and give time and attention to them, they will often make the difference in the success that we enjoy.

—Wade Webster, Southaven,

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Glad Tidings of Good Things
Volume 14 July 10, 2008