Let’s “Throw Deep” … My weekend musings circle around football and James Bond. Strange, but hear me out!

First, football—why? Well that is the weekend offerings on TV and last week I went to see the Arizona Cardinals play against the Green Bay Packers. Mind you, even though I grew up in Wisconsin where people wear cheese on their heads, I am not a rabid football fan. Downhill skiing, swimming, diving and car racing yes, football?—my hubby loves it so I go along for the ride. *Note, I did root for the Cardinals as I figure I’ve lived here in AZ for 31 years and I should be loyal to our home teams. Yet, I was also elated to see the Packers finally have a good defensive line for a change, and yes, they beat us.

Then the other night we went to the theater to see No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last James Bond movie. I loved it and at the end in ‘M’s office, ‘M’ shared a portion of a quote from Jack London that just hit me: “The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time!”

As we drove home the quote kept coming up in my mind and then I realized it also was used in a much earlier Bond movie where the “one-and-done” George Lazenby played 007. It was as if all things came full-circle. But there was more about this quote that kept pestering my brain so this morning I looked through tons of my files on quotes, inspirational sayings, etc., and voila!—I found it in a story with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler. So you now see my NFL connection.

The story goes like this: Ken Stabler was once being interviewed by Sports Illustrated when the journalist recited a quote from the author, Jack London, knowing this was a favorite of the quarterback. The full quote from London’s brilliant poetic mind is:

“I’d rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
than I should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
every atom of me in magnificent glow,
than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time!”

The journalist asked Stabler why these words meant so much to him in his life. He replied with all the gritty confidence of an NFL veteran: “Throw deep.” The two went on to discuss life, faith, the grit of the gridiron, and what it’s like to be a left-handed NFL quarterback. Stabler understood the risks and took them, he used his talent well and didn’t want to waste one moment of this precious gift God gave him.

The Apostle Paul could join Jack London and Ken Stabler in what it means to not waste a day, but instead use your time until God calls you home. He wrote to the church at Philippi saying “Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. 14 I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. -Philippians 3:13-14 [the Voice]

Sadly, too many folks settle for a mundane routine because they’re in a rut. They aren’t throwing deep; instead they have given up on making each day count and have settled for living a ‘mere existence’. Their spark has gone out, they’re sitting in dust and they’re sinking in dry-rot, such as in London’s quote.

When you retire you have to determine what you still want to be. It can be a loss or it can be an adventure depending on your attitude. For me, after retiring 2 years ago, my life has been a whole different adventure yet a continuation of where I left off from my job at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center. My time there remains an incredible cornerstone that helps me embrace every single day as a precious gift. For 13 years I built up friendships that still impact my life—what another gift from God. My life is different yet I refuse to live with just a mere existence. I don’t want to lose one-minute living with the adventures God has for me and certainly I don’t want my life to be like dry-rot! I want to keep “throwing deep.”

God continues to invite you and me into all that God has planned for us. In fact, I’d like to say God is telling you and me “throw deep—for My Kingdom.” The last I heard, there’s no expiration date for God’s invitation so what are we waiting for?! Come on, let’s press on toward the goal, embrace the adventures of living and sharing our faith. Let’s get out there and “throw deep!”