The term, YAC, was apparently coined by the former coach and broadcaster, John Madden, several years ago. It’s a stat he created for running backs in the NFL. It refers to Yards After Contact; the number of yards a running back makes after being hit by an opposing player. When an opposing player hits a running back, that running back doesn’t stop, does he? He doesn’t throw the ball down and walk off the field. He doesn’t suddenly throw the ball up in the air and say, “You can have it…” and take off in the opposite direction. What does he do? He keeps his legs churning after he is hit, he keeps moving forward, he keeps straining toward the goal line.
Being a pastor requires a lot of YAC, doesn’t it? A lot of yards after contact, after being hit by the opposition. Nehemiah is one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. As you recall, he led the Jews in rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem, accomplishing the feat in just 52 days! Achieving that required a lot of YAC because he was hit by a lot of opposition. Even though we are ominously introduced to his primary opposition in Chapter 2, he doesn’t get hit hard until Chapter 4.
Nehemiah 4:1-3; When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!”
This character named, Sanballat, hit Nehemiah and the Jews first with ridiculing criticism. Notice, he was very thorough with his criticism. He criticized the character of the builders, their ability, and their commitment to really get the job done. Hee questioned the integrity of the project altogether! “Can they bring stones back to life?” Then Sanballat’s buddy, Tobiah, also chimed in, essentially declaring that the builders were all incompetent- that the mere weight of a tiny fox climbing on top would be enough to bring the wall down. Obviously, their goal is to discourage Nehemiah and the Jews from fulfilling their vision to rebuild the walls!
Pastor, what is the vision you believe that God has for your ministry right now? Have you been hit with opposition yet? I say, “yet,” because inevitably it is going to happen at some point. And when you get hit, you have to learn how to keep going and get those YAC. You have to learn how to keep your legs churning in the right direction. Because, it will be your Yards After Contact that will make all the difference toward fulfilling the vision God has for you.
Nehemiah learned how to keep his legs churning! We’ll continue to explore how this amazing leader was able to do so in the next post.