>“…Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” -Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV
The writer to the Hebrews calls his readers to press on. Having access to the very presence of God through the veil of Jesus’ flesh, they are urged to draw near in the full assurance of faith. However, they face hardship. In fact, they face persecution. And yet, this is nothing new to them, for they have already endured such things. They had faced public scorn and humiliation; they had watched their property as it was taken from them. And now, they faced more – possibly even similar – threats and dangers.
In light of this, the writer encourages them to not give up but, rather, to hold fast to their confession of hope. If they failed to do so, the fact that they had “endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (10:32b ESV) before would be null and void. And so, they had a serious and pressing need for perseverance.
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I personally see Brett Favre as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football. Though many would strongly disagree with such a statement, one would only be fooling himself to disagree with the following statement: Brett Favre is by far the greatest picture of perseverance to ever play the game of football.
In the midst of several record-breaking statistics, Favre’s greatest stat, in my estimation, is in the category of consecutive starts: He stands at 244 consecutive starts (264 including playoffs). This still-growing feat spans 17 seasons. The only other player in NFL history to have more consecutive starts was a lineman – defensive end Jim Marshall, who ended his career with 270 consecutive starts (widely known also for returning a fumble the wrong direction, resulting in a safety).
To put Favre’s starts as a quarterback in perspective, the following is of interest: Among those still playing the game, the only others even “on the radar” with Favre are Peyton Manning (151) and Tom Brady (102), a point which is interesting to note, in and of itself. Of those whose careers have already ended, there is Ron Jaworski (162) and Joe Ferguson (107), both beginning and ending their careers in 1977 and 1984, respectively. Other than these five, there are, in fact, no other quarterbacks in the history of the NFL who have accumulated 100 consecutive starts.
Brett Favre has played through concussions and pains of all sorts. Only a few years ago, he played most of the season with a broken thumb on his right hand. More importantly, he’s right-handed! During this past off-season, he underwent surgery to repair various fractures in his foot, an injury he simply ignored during the last part of the 2006-2007 season.
In 2003 (December 22), Favre led the Green Bay Packers (his team since his second NFL season) to trample the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football. Favre, not surprisingly, chose to play this game despite the fact that his father died the day before. The night before the game, he wanted to bear his heart to his teammates and did so in a called team meeting. The game turned out to be quite possibly one of the greatest performances of Favre’s career and one of the most emotionally-charged games of NFL history. In the first half alone, Favre threw 4 touchdowns. He ended the game with a score of 41-7 and 399 passings yards.
Despite the criticism and skepticism of others, Favre has continued, and this year he is among the best in the NFL, as he leads the Packers into week 9 with a record of 6-1, tied only with the Dallas Cowboys at the top of the NFC. Doing so, he continues to play with child-like fun – shouting, running, and leaping after long completed passes, carrying teammates off the field after touchdowns, and the likes. His love for the game is endearing.
Brett Favre… He is relentless. And, for that, he is a portrait of perseverance.
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* check out this video by Deanna Favre which served as the introduction to this past week’s Monday Night Football game (the Green Bay Packers at the Denver Broncos):