“I love it here. We plan on living here the rest of our lives.” These were the sentiments of Green Bay Packer coach Mike McCarthy, regarding Green Bay. I am a UPer, having grown up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, three hours north of Green Bay. My roots go deep into the northwoods lifestyle. I am a Viking fan, but also a “closet” Packer fan, especially when they are winning and the Vikings are losing. I cried as I read the article about coach McCarthy, I suppose partly because of my roots. I share this with you, because there are times when I am deeply touched by the narrative of a man’s life. The coach might not be a follower of Jesus, but the depiction of his character and lifestyle spoke to my heart. Why?
The evidence of the coach’s humility. “The NFL is not a place for the humble, but here Mike McCarthy sits, in a back room at Lambeau Field, perfectly content with being the least-talked-about coach in this weekend’s conference championship games.” (The Packers lost a heart breaker to Seattle). Humility in a man shows he is content in his “own skin,” not needing to impress. The focus is on others. In the coach’s case, it is his players. “….making his players better is what makes him special.” Jesus put a premium on humility when he said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will exalted” (Luke 14:11). A humble man of God points others towards Jesus and the life he offers.
The sense of simplicity and ordinariness about the coach. Those are rare qualities for a NFL coach. In hiring McCarthy, the packers, “liked that his ego was small, his football knowledge was vast and he came from a place that in many ways was similar to Green Bay.” The article goes on to say that, “he loves the simplicity of Green Bay, that the two things the town holds dearest are also what he cares about most: family and football…..He’s the kind of guy you’d see getting a beer at the VFW, brilliantly ordinary. Perfect for Green Bay.” Men, God does his lasting work in the ordinariness of our daily lives, not when the spotlight is on us. This is especially true with your presence in your family. We can make following Jesus too complicated and heroic. It begins in the ordinariness of life, like putting our kids to bed at night. Paul said of himself, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil 4:11).
The coach is “solid” guy with a sense of place. “Words that depict McCarthy, such as “solid,” tough” and “dependable” are generally used in pickup truck commercials.” He is at home in Green Bay. The people who make up the area are much like the coach. “When he got the job, he made a point to put incentives in players’ contracts that would reward them for staying in town for off season workouts.” In the days to come I want to be around men who are “solid” in character, with a sense of place. There is no pretense, just committed men, who want to make a difference right where they are planted. Men, Jesus has planted you and your family where you live for a purpose; to be witnesses of the present reality of the kingdom of God.