Sunday, March 9, 2008

What's Your Platform?

All this talk of Presidential Elections, primaries, caucuses, voter turnout, suspending campaigns, and well, politics in general, has worn me out. And, if all those topics don’t exhaust you, perhaps looking at the “Final Four” candidates will cause you to throw up your hands and wave the white flag (I don't think Ron Paul has officially withdrawn his name yet).

But, regardless of who your favorite candidate might be, each of these men and women have built something they have asked constituents to join them in standing upon: a platform. Whether it’s health care, drilling in Anwar, gun control, cutting taxes, border patrol, or stem cell research, informed voters select their choice of whom to follow based on that person’s collective stance on issues important to him or her.

And, more than their personality, their likes and dislikes, what they do in their spare time, or how they treat other people, a politician is primarily known for their platform. So, the question isn’t “Who has the prettiest platform?” but rather, “Who has the platform that will hold the most number of people without buckling?”

In biblical terms, it would be “Who has built their platform upon a Rock, and who has built it on the sand?”

I’ve been reading Tony Dungy’s memoir, entitled Quiet Strength. It may surprise you that the book is about much more than football, about X’s and O’s, offense vs. defense, and winning and losing. It’s about platforms.

It’s about a platform that Tony Dungy has built over the past 35 years of his life. A platform his parents gave him a head start in helping to build before he ever pounded one nail into it himself. A platform he continues to expand today as one of the most successful – and humble – people you will ever read about or see on TV.

What’s amazing to me is that someone else introduced this idea of a platform to Dungy – someone who saw his potential at a young age. The gentleman’s name was Tom Lamphere, and he was involved with Athletes in Action, a program started by Campus Crusade for Christ that was specifically geared towards helping athletes shape and use their personal platforms for Christ.

Dungy talks a great deal in the book about the incredible wisdom he gained from Lamphere: “Tom made it his mission to help me grow in my faith and in my leadership abilities” Dungy writes. “He wanted to help equip me to use that greater platform when I got it.”

So, here’s the $64,000 question: What’s Your Platform?

It’s not “Do you have a platform?” We all have a platform, like it or not. We all stand for and against things – passively or passionately. We all influence people in some form or fashion. At work. At home. At school. At church. At the ball park. At the supermarket. Wherever and whenever.

The easy thing would be for you to just shrug it off and say, “Who cares? No one is paying attention to what I’m saying or doing.” Wrong.

The wise thing to do would be to accept the fact that you have a huge responsibility – even opportunity – to make a positive difference in this world.

But, you’ve got to have the right platform. One with the proper support structure. One with balance. One meant to hold others up, not just yourself. One built upon rock, not one that will wash away when the tide rolls in.

This Easter, I pray you remember the construction on a platform that was built nearly 2,000 years ago. It was one that required nails and wood. One that was built with an unimaginable amount of love. One built with you in mind.

Jesus built it, and he finished it. And, he’s waiting for us to jump on with him.

He’s my platform.

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