What would happen to the world if we celebrated God in the same way as we celebrated the Super Bowl?
What if we had the same excitement, the same anticipation, the same parties that we had yesterday during the Super Bowl, when we came out of church on Sunday morning? Or even if we had as many people at church as we had watching the Super Bowlâ€”all with one purpose and one goal?
Or what if our marriages had the same good natured arguments as two friends cheering, one for the Packers and one for the Steelersâ€”and ending up with a pat on the back, and a â€œweâ€™llâ€ be back for more tomorrow?
No, I am not saying it is wrong to enjoy the Super Bowl. But when I woke up this morning I really didnâ€™t care whether my side won or lost last night.Â But in Godâ€™s game, winning or losing, is heaven or hell. That matters, now I care. And while I get a second chance every day when I wake up, when the game is over, Godâ€™s decision, Godâ€™s judgment of what I have done with my life, of which quarterback I have followed, Jesus or another, will be final.
My goal is to win Godâ€™s Super Bowl. I have faith and hope that I will be a winner if I follow Him.Â Godâ€™s has a game plan. It is the Bible and the interpretation of His church, given to us all to read and follow.
These were some of His instructions this week:
â€œLet brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.Â Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers. Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you. Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?Â Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and foreverâ€ (Hebrews 13:1-8).
â€œJesus said to his disciples: â€œYou are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.Â You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deedsÂ and glorify your heavenly Fatherâ€ (Matthew 5:13-16).
Do we want to be like the bowl games performers, the quarterbacks, and the actors in the commercials? Are they our role models? Are their â€œgoalsâ€ becoming our goals? Are their lights brighter and set on higher lamp stands than those of Godâ€™s followers, of those who see and seek the truth? Who do we imitate? Who do we follow? Who are our role models? And who is our quarterback?
What would change in the world if everyone attended church the way they attended the Super Bowl (in person or on TV)? Godâ€™s commercials would ask us to serve the poor, the widowed, the orphaned and the children. The commercials would ask us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, shelter the homeless. They would ask us to be unselfish and to die to our own ways and desires for our spouses and our marriages, just as Christ died for his spouse, the Church.
What if we knew, understood, and studied God’s game and players as well as the players of the NFL, all their stats, all of their history. How much do we know about the “Hall-of-Famer” Saints in Godâ€™s game?
Are we following a false quarterback, a societal god? Do we follow those who say we should have freedom of choice for life, marriages of equality, a need to be rich and famous, or the â€œit must be right, everyone is doing it attitude?â€Â Or are we following Godâ€™s quarterback, Jesus? Do we imitate His selfless service to believers and non believers alike, loving each other in good times and bad, for richer, for poorer? Do our choices in life recognize that Godâ€™s bowl game has the ultimate, the SUPER outcome?Â Put God into Your Super Bowl game. Make Jesus Christ your coach. May we be led by His play book.
Father: Praise be the real game, that of life itself. Please bless us, the players of the game, so that we will know the truth and follow the one you sent, Jesus Christ, as our coach. Praise be Jesus who was sent here to make us winners of your gift of eternity. I am sorry for the times when I have allowed myself to be influenced by the rich and famous, when it is your riches that I desire. Thank you for being my guiding light. Amen.