Lessons from Peyton Manning’s Release


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The Indianapolis Colts ended up releasing Peyton Manning as their quarterback today. To those of you who are not familiar with the story, Manning was the Colts’ franchise quarterback. He was selected as the overall number one pick in the 1998 NFL draft. He had a brilliant career with the Colts. Manning will definitely be ranked as one of the all-time best quarterbacks in the NFL. But in the 2011 season he did not play a single game due to neck surgery and the Colts finished their 2011 season 2 wins and 14 losses.

Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts had to make a decision. As Irsay looked into the future, he knew that he had to rebuild; therefore after firing the General Manager and the coaching staff, Irsay felt he needed to release Manning, who will turn 36 years old, in order to make the rebuilding process complete. With the number one pick in the 2012 NFL draft and with two of the top quarterback draftees available, Andrew Luck from Stanford and Robert Griffin III from Baylor, it was no surprise when the news broke about Manning’s release.

Some say that it was a financial decision, while others say that in order to rebuild, the Colts had to bring in new players. But regardless of the reasons, I couldn’t help but to think about some important lessons for us, in the church.

Here are five lessons:

1) Learn to leave with class and dignity – As I was watching the press conference, I was deeply moved. I developed a greater respect and appreciation for Manning, as a person more than a quarterback. I realized that Manning had a lot of class and character in saying the things that he did. It is hard to have people who are humble and gracious, especially when they are at the superstar level. It is my hope and prayer that people learn to leave a place with this kind of attitude and heart. Due to our ministry on a college campus, every year we have to let go of people as they move on after graduation, while other people move on to follow God’s call in another city. It is always important that you leave on a good note because the way you leave a place is the way you will enter into the new place. We have lots to learn from Manning. You can watch press conference here.

2) There should be no such thing as tenure in the church – One thing that I have been trying to teach in our church is that there is no such thing as “tenure” in our church. As we get older and serve in the ministry for many years, it is easy to have an entitlement attitude. We begin to feel as if we deserve things. This is when things get very precarious when it comes to being a servant in the church. We should never hold on to a position or a title. In order to be the servant that God wants us to be, we have to be open to the fact that God might be calling us to do other things. The more we hold on to things, the harder it will be for us to be surrendered to do God’s will. Manning said, “We all know that nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.” We have to be open to change – it is the only constant in the world.

3) Rebuilding requires making hard choices – When an organization or a church for that matter has to rebuild, it is a painful process. Often times, in order to move in a new direction, there needs to be some dramatic decisions so that change can occur. There are no guarantees that everyone will be happy and will be all on board. A person leading a rebuilding campaign needs to have wisdom and courage. As I look back into the history of our church, there were several moments where we had to rebuild. During those rebuilding years, we had to let go of a lot of people. We also had to restructure a lot of things so that we can be ready for the change. We would have never reached the level that God has called us to without making those hard choices. No matter how painful, the decisions must be made.

4) We need to learn how to honor people – It was pretty inspiring to see the mutual respect that Manning and Irsay had for one another. Manning wanted to end his NFL career as a Indianapolis Colt but it didn’t turn out that way. After a 14-year tenure in Indianapolis, he has to move on. But I felt Irsay did a good job or honoring Manning by saying, “This is difficult because of the things Peyton has done for our city, our state and our franchise. There will be no other Peyton Manning.” Isray continued to mention that Manning’s No. 18 will never be worn again by a Colt on the field and that he is rooting for Manning to succeed wherever he ends up playing. Manning honored the fans and the organization by saying, “I’ll always be a Colt. That’ll never change.” I pray that when we have to depart with people, we will be able to depart in an amicable and respectful way.

5) God always has a purpose for everything – When things do not turn out the way that we want, it is easy for us to complain and get bitter at God. But God is constantly working out all things for our good and His glory (Ro 8:28). This is where we need to do our part. As God is working sovereignly in our lives, we have to learn how to trust and have a good attitude in the process. Manning impressed me with his attitude. He said, “I haven’t thought about yet where I’ll play but I have thought about where I’ve been. I’ve been blessed.” When we are in the process of a transition we need to have this kind of attitude in order to be ready to respond to God’s leading. We may never fully know the path that God is taking us through, but one thing we can be sure of is that He will always be faithful.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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