In 1995 the Northwestern Wildcats football team had one of the most remarkable seasons in college football history. Prior to 1995 they had been one of the worst team in America, They had set an NCAA record for losing 34 games in a row between 1979 and 1982. They had not had a winning season in 24 years.
Then in 1995, under Coach Gary Barnett, they finished the season 10 - 2, won the Big Ten conference title, and went to the Rose Bowl ranked 8th in the country.
Coach Barnett earned 17 national Coach of the Year awards.
In the spring of 1996 as the team prepared for the next season the coach realized he faced the challenge of the team looking back and resting on its laurels. So he called a meeting of the team, telling them it was to hand out the many individual awards that had been earned the previous season.
The players joyfully gathered in a large meeting room with the energy from the last season still in their minds. The coach then called the players forward and handed them fancy placards bearing their names and accomplishments from the previous season. As each came forward the whole 70 member team cheered and yelled their teammate's names.
Then the coach raised up his own placard representing the 17 Coach of the Year awards he had won. The room went wild with cheers and applause.
As the noise subsided the coach then took his placard and walked to the side of the stage to a large trash can marked "1995". He took an admiring glance at his placard, and then tore it up and threw it in the trash can.
As silence descended on the room, the coach stepped aside.
Then a star player from the team who had won an award walked forward with his placard...tore it up and put into the trash. Another player came forward and did the same thing...and then all of the stars who had won awards followed, until the trash can was overflowing with the placards representing their past accomplishments.
The coach had silently announced a loud message. What the team did in the past was good. But it was time to let that go and look to what was next.
Sometimes we Christians get a bit complacent in thinking about the good things we have done or the past gifts we have given in service to Christ and His Church. Some will even tell me, "I have done my part, I just want to rest now."
But nowhere in Jesus' teaching does it say that we can stop serving or giving. He did not teach that once we do a certain amount for God we can retire or rest.
Whatever you may have done or given in the past is good. But never can a Christian rest on his or her laurels.
There is always more to do and to give.
That's what we mean when we sing, "Here I am Lord."
So, what's next for YOU??