God’s First-Down Chain

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

College and high school football teams are hitting the practice fields to prepare for the start of the season. While the coaches get the players ready, I hope the referees are checking their equipment.


Two high school football teams and a NAIA college team played home games at Vigilante Stadium in Helena, Montana, for three years and used an inaccurate first-down chain that actually measured 10 yards and 6 inches! The activities director, Jim Opitz, said, “It’s just one of those things that you take for granted that it’s accurate.”


The error was discovered when one team started on the 20-yard line, advanced to the 30-yard line, but the chain showed that they were still 6 inches short. The first response by the official was that the 30-yard line on the field was crooked. They double checked the line and discovered it was accurate, and it was the chain that was inaccurate. You wonder how many games might have come out differently had the chain been accurate!


An accurate measuring chain is essential because football is a “game of inches.” An accurate guidebook for life is even more important. The Bible is always accurate and is the first-down chain for shaping our decisions and measuring our growth.


When we come up short, the human response is often to suggest that life must be crooked, or place the blame somewhere else. In the final analysis, God has created and lined off this world accurately, and discrepancies will always lie in some inaccurate philosophy or advice that we might be using!


God’s first down chain is never inaccurate!! Use it with confidence!

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