October 23 • 08:35 PM

'What will people remember us for?'

September 19, 2007
Understanding full well that one of the tenets of Tony Dungy's coaching philosophy is "No explanations, no excuses,'' I nevertheless feel I owe one in this column. Here it is, lame though it may sound.

I had paraphrased the legend next to the picture of Peyton Manning and Coach Dungy in last week's column. In a final draft, I tried to insert a word. Have you ever had your computer, instead of going into "insert" mode, begin eating up a letter for every one you tried to insert? Well, that's what mine did. Yeah, I know. It sounds a lot like "The dog ate my homework." But that IS what happened. I was just trying to poke in an extra word, and suddenly, there I was, looking at the remains of the paragraph, in which were two dates—1997 and 2004. I cobbled the paragraph back together the best I could, but I didn't get it right. I should have gone and gotten the book, and copied the paragraph word for word. Here is what it was supposed to have said:

"When I first met Peyton Manning in 1997, neither of us dreamed that we'd one day take the field together as part of a Super Bowl-winning team. This photo was taken right after Peyton broke the record with his 49th touchdown pass in 2004."

That's what happens when I try to write on something about which I know very little. Oh, I know a fair amount about Dungy, and I know enough about Manning to know he's a force to be dealt with, but the dates are like so many dates to be memorized for a history test. Elusive. Over my head.

So, why was I reading that book? Truth? Because in a recent group study in which I was involved, we delved beneath the surface of relationships. "Trying to understand your man so you can better fit in with the plan'' was, to put it in a few words, the gist of the study. As I evaluated what Mike had brought to our marriage, I summed up his profile in two words: Quiet strength. The same week I'd heard Tony Dungy profiled the same way, and I thought, "WOW! Wouldn't that be a dynamic book to give to any one of a number of teens and young adults who see Dungy as a role model, and who says the same stuff we say?

Stuff like: (and I quote) "The competing views of success in our world often create an interesting tension. Society tends to define success in terms of accomplish-ments and awards, material possessions, and profit margins. In the football business, winning is the only thing that matters.

"God's Word, however, presents a different definition of success—one centered on a relationship with Jesus Christ and a love for God that allows us to love and serve others. God gives each one of us unique gifts, abilities, and passions. How well we use those qualities to have an impact on the world around us determines how 'successful' we are. If we get caught up in chasing what the world defines as success, we can use our time and talent to do some great things. We might even become famous. But in the end, what will it mean?

"What will people remember us for? Are other people's lives better because we lived? Did we make a difference? Did we use to the fullest the gifts and abilities God gave us? Did we give our best effort, and did we do it for the right reasons?

"God's definition of success is really one of significance—the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others. This significance doesn't show up in win-loss records, long resumes, or the trophies gathering dust on our mantels. It's found in the hearts and lives of those we've come across who are in some way better because of the way we lived."

Castle Creek
10 - 23 - 17
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