The 12th Man

I attended my first NFL game in almost fifty years on Sunday.  I witnessed the Seattle Seahawks beat the New England Patriots at Centurylink Field in Seattle, WA.  I had the privilege of speaking at a men’s retreat and while in Seattle, I fellowshipped with former church member Rocky Seto who is a coach for the Seahawks. 

The Seahawks place a great of emphasis on what they term the “12th Man”.  Who is the 12th Man?  The 12th Man is the fan in the stands.

The fans at Centurylink are loud.  It is the noisiest stadium in the NFL.  During an exciting play in the playoffs two years ago, it was so loud that it caused a seismic disruption.  More false starts happen in Seattle than anywhere else in the NFL because of the deafening fan support.

As a result of this kind of support, the fans are considered a 12th Man on what is normally an eleven-man unit.  Having an extra man in the stands is definitely advantageous. 

After the game, the fans were intoxicated with joy.  They love their team.  It is the basis of their support.  They scream their encouragement because of their love and devotion to the team.  I sat fairly quiet by comparison.

In the church, we can all become the 12th Man.  Even if we are on the sidelines or in the stands, we can still be supportive of those on the field of action.

The Apostle Paul was encouraged by the 12th Man known as the church in Corinth.  While he was depressed and tired, he wrote of them, “…as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more” (2 Corinthians 7:7b). 

We can be the 12th Man to Ian in the mission field, to a church school teacher in the classroom, to a coach in our basketball program, to a leader in a branch, to a pastor in the ministry, to a parent raising their children and the list goes on and on. 

Hopefully you are experiencing the support and encouragement of a 12th Man in your life.  I also hope you are a 12th Man somewhere in your life. 

The 12th Man, something to think about…