The eyes of our nation have been fixed this week on the campus of Penn State University. By now everyone has read, heard, or seen numerous accounts of the tragic events that have been chronicled throughout the week. There have been allegations, arrests, firings, protests, riots, and a general sense of unbelief. How could something like this happen in such a storied football program? I don’t remember in my lifetime a “sports” story ever given this much press.
There have been allegations that a popular assistant coach has sexually abused young boys and allegations that the football program as well as the University turned a blind eye.
At the center of it all is the legendary coach Joe Paterno. For the first time in more than forty years Coach Joe is not the head coach of the Nittany Lions. “JoePa” was an outstanding college football coach. He was the head coach at Penn State for 46 years and won more games than any other college coach. I remember attending the 1979 Sugar Bowl when the Crimson Tide beat him and his team. It was a classic game coached by two of the nations greatest coaches.
The question that has been asked over and over again by the “talking heads,” is what kind of legacy will Paterno have now that these events have occurred? One former coach said that Paterno’s legacy would be forever tarnished by what he didn’t do. Please remember that we still do not know exactly what Paterno knew or didn’t know. We do not know all that he did, or did not do. However, he has stated that in hindsight he wishes he could have done more.
Haunting words, a legacy forever tarnished by what he didn’t do. I wonder how many people in the world could say those very words, “I wish I would have done more.”
Jesus talked about how there will be many who will miss heaven because of what they didn’t do. They didn’t feed the hungry, they didn’t give drink to the thirsty, they didn’t accept the stranger, and they didn’t care for the sick, the poor, or those who were in prison. Our Lord said that refusing to do for others was tantamount to refusing to do for Him (Matt. 25:41-46).
James, the brother of our Lord once said, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17). We tend to want to focus on what we do, but today I’m wondering about what we have failed to do?
I wonder about Christians who fail to tell others the Good News about Jesus and how He saves (1 Cor. 9:16; Rom. 1:16)?
I wonder about Preachers who fail to proclaim the whole counsel of God because they are afraid they will lose popularity (Gal. 1:10; Acts 20:27)?
I wonder about elders who fail to do the right thing in the church because they are afraid they’ll lose members or money (1 Cor. 9:16)?
I wonder about parents who fail to raise their children in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4)?
I wonder about parents who fail to teach their children the Word of God, but they want to make sure they are properly educated (Deut. 6:1-9)?
I wonder about parents who fail to teach their children to put God first by the way they put just about anything and everything above the Lord (Matt. 6:33)?
I wonder about grown children who fail to honor and respect their parents because of their own selfish desires (Eph. 6:1-2)?
I wonder about members of the church who fail to worship with God’s people because they have something better to do (Heb. 10:22-24)?
I wonder about Christians who fail to give as they should because they don’t trust the Lord to take care of them (Luke 6:38)?
I wonder about Christian young people who fail to say no to drugs, drinking, or some immoral activity because they are afraid of losing friends (1 Cor. 15:33)?
I wonder about churches that fail to show compassion on the disenfranchised, but they are obsessed with making sure we “preach the Truth” (Matt. 23:23)?
I wonder about churches that fail to “preach the Truth,” but they are obsessed with helping the disenfranchised (2 Tim. 4:1-4)?
I wonder about churches that fail to see that it is possible to grow and “preach the Truth” at the same time (Eph. 4:15)?
I wonder if our failures will cause our spiritual legacy to be tarnished forever? On that day when we stand before our Lord will He say “well done,” because of what we have done, or will He say, “depart from Me,” because of what we have failed to do?
Dear Father in Heaven, help us not to tarnish our spiritual legacy by what we fail to do. Help us to do right when we know the right thing to do. Help us to try harder each day to be like our Savior who went about doing good. In the precious Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.