Don’t Call it a Comeback

I’m going to assume you know the outcome of the Superbowl this year (2017).  I won’t even try to recap as I’m sure its being covered by much more thorough analysts than I could ever claim to be.  And many if not all will somehow tie in the age old wisdom that we should never give up.  For years, this message will be recounted when teams are down late in the game.  And while that message has great value, I hope you will consider another angle.

As Christians, our lives with God aren’t back and forth struggles.  They may feel like it at times, but the reality is… God never moves.

We may choose to follow in His footsteps.  We may opt to go on our own for a little while.  We can come back and forth.  We may reject Him altogether.  We can always come back.  He never moves.  Along with His expectations, He never changes.

So it is with the life of Jesus.  He came to earth with a single task.  Save humanity by self sacrifice.  There was no back and forth.  Satan never scored a point.  That is the beauty of the plan.  By Satan ‘winning’ (killing Jesus), we truly win.  It’s why He came.  He was tempted but didn’t give in.  He was tortured, but never gave up.  He was discouraged, but never stopped loving.  The score never changed.  There was no down and out.  There was no 11th hour or 2 minute drill to try and come from behind.

What’s the point?  Comebacks are hope-fuled opportunities for disaster.  I’ve seen it before.  There is still time left.  The team starts to get everything together.  The game gets more intense.  It really looks like its about to happen… but then it doesn’t.  Even worse than losing was the final hope they wouldn’t.   The Christian story isn’t about score.  It’s not about each play or moment of the game.  The game… has already been won.  There is nothing to come from behind from.  Jesus wasn’t down by 35 points late in the game… There is a great Carmen song where Jesus and Satan are boxing.  When Satan knocks Jesus down the ref starts counting down from 10 instead of up from 1.  Only when he gets to 1, its spelled won.

That song cleverly illustrates the sacrifice Christ made.  He took our place.  We can’t lose, He lost for us.  So instead of drowning those sorrows, feeding that fear, or dusting off those bad habits, consider that Jesus actually won the game before He added all the players.   When we accept Christ, we aren’t gearing up for a winning team.  We are suiting up for a won team.  If Tom Brady showed up at your home today and offered you his super bowl ring, that wouldn’t make sense.  To Christians… that is kind of our story.  It wasn’t a comeback, we already won.

This is what Jesus did for us.  We pick our team by choosing how we live for Him.  There will be no hail marys.  No onside kicks.  No trick plays.  This one is in the history books.  The only thing not decided… is your response.  Do you accept Jesus’ gift?   Will you share the victory with others?

Go Long, or You’ll Miss it

Consider these stats about an average NFL game.  It takes over 3 hours to watch the game.  The game clock, and any true game play will last for only 1 hour (4, 15 minute quarters).  The actual time where real football is being played (this is the time between the snap and the whistle at the end of the play is 11 minutes.  That is 11 minutes total for the entire game.  Each play lasts an average of 4 seconds.  This means, on average, there are 165 plays in the game.  But this counts punts, kick offs, field goals, extra points, offense and defense.

We sit for over 3 hours to see 11 minutes of payoff.  The rest is commercials (roughly 100 of those), instant replays, huddling, snap counts (thank Peyton Manning for that… OMAHA!), injuries, and penalty discussions/instant replays.

So the question is… who would do this?  Who would trade 3 hours of their lives for 11 minutes?  Well, anyone who thought the payoff was worth it, of course.  Consider God’s plan for the salvation of humanity.  Who would give their Son to be tortured and killed to save the souls of a bunch of sinners?  I think it stands to reason the answer is the same… because He thought the payoff was worth it.

Consider how much you matter to God.  You were worth it.

That said, perhaps when we catch the next game, we spend some of that spare time giving back to Him.  Pray.  Reflect.  Share.  History is made in 4 seconds.  It’s why we watch.  The first play gets stuffed.  The next play goes out of bounds.  And then… amazing happens.  So goes our walk with God.  4 seconds.  A kind word.  A gentle gesture.  Giving God credit.  Invitations to church, or maybe just lunch.  You will be told no.  You may be laughed at.  You will be told no again.  But then… a miracle happens.  We only have so many opportunities to share how much we matter to God.  How much He loves us.  How much He has done.

When the game is over and the sponsors are counting their piles of ad revenue, nothing we do matters after that.  11 minutes, 4 seconds at a time.  How can we not give it our best shot?

 

 

 

Average NFL Game stats