Sunday night, I went to the Tennessee Titans opening pre-season game, looking forward to seeing Marcus Mariota play live. They played the St. Louis Rams, led by ex-Titans head coach, Jeff Fisher. As we know well in the world of sports, ex-coaches and players who leave can oftentimes create bad blood in sports.
During the TV commercial break, between the first and second quarter, the mega-screens began to play a highlight reel of Coach Fisher’s time here in Nashville. The slo-mo featured shots of him being lifted onto players’ shoulders after the “Music City Miracle” play-off game in 2000, running down the sidelines cheering a long run, standing in the middle of a huddle of players, image after image of Fisher during the good days of Titans history. At the end of the montage, the words on the screen appeared: “Welcome Back Jeff Fisher.”
At that point, the entire stadium stood and gave him a standing ovation … for the opposing team’s coach. He stepped out onto the field and waved, obviously humbled. Some of his players’ facial expressions were priceless, somewhat shocked by the gesture.
Why the recognition? Because of what he had done for this city in days gone by and this was the first time he had been back. In that moment, I was proud of the Titans and this city for taking a very public part in a dying art in this culture: honor for honor’s sake, gratitude for someone’s contribution, even if it has no impact in the present. Instead of “what have you done for me lately,” it was “thank for what you did for us.”
When the media asked Coach Fisher his thoughts about the recognition afterwards, he said: “It was moving. I heard they were going to recognize me, but I had no idea to that extent. I appreciate their approach and generosity.”
Honoring people and being grateful is a Christ-like quality, one that is rarely witnessed in our selfie-crazed, me-focused culture.
Showing authentic honor and gratitude to anyone—from the bag boy at the grocery store to your boss—makes you shine and stick out these days. Most people are too busy and too into whatever they need at the moment.
Today, this week, slow down. Look people in the eye. Respect the human you’re encountering at the moment. Make someone think, “I appreciate their approach and generosity.” Just one of the many ways we can honor the Lord and act like Him.
Those who are righteous … are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. —Psalm 112:6-10 NLT