Feb 02

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Super Bowl

As in the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:1 (although he spoke of his admirable spiritual accomplishments, while I speak of but mere, meaningless physical accomplishments), bear with me a little in my folly:
I played the game of football for nine seasons; started at the positions of halfback, fullback, quarterback, middle linebacker, defensive safety, punter and place kicker for extra-points and field goals and kickoffs; was one of the first in the nation and probably the first in Oklahoma to kick “soccer-style”; had the position of place kicker on a semi-pro team; had an agent and was in contact with the Houston Oilers (but missed the tryouts due to a schedule misunderstanding).
To mention such is truly folly, but I do so that no one will think that the things which are about to be said are made by some ignorant, uninvolved preacher who’s never been there and doesn’t know what it’s like nor what he’s talking about.
The collegiate season with all its bowl games has ended. The professional season is coming to a close. I, of course, have thoroughly enjoyed watching some of the games. Now the ultimate is here—The Super Bowl! This is the single, most anticipated and watched athletic event in the history of man. Statistics concerning it dazzle the mind: cost of tickets, number of spectators worldwide, and, sadly, amount of money bet. This is certainly an event that cannot be missed!
But, afternoon worship occurs at the same time of pre-game specials! Both cannot be attended. What is one to do?
From one who has earnestly lived a life in both pursuits—“choose worship; football is nothing.” From Paul (who excelled in and compared a previous endeavor)—“count [football] as rubbish” (Phil. 3:8). From the One who knows—“forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25).
Brethren, having an interest in football to the extent that you choose it over God is not what life is all about. For awhile, Solomon not only lived such a life of pursuing all realms of human quests (pleasure, riches, power, fame), he also achieved the ultimate in each realm. However, after each road was lived to its fullest, he returned and said, That is not what life is all about; rather, fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13-14).
Jesus gave us the principle in Matthew 6:19-21 with which we make application: An interest [treasure] in football that takes priority over God is an interest that declares one’s heart. And such a heart cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:24-26; 22:37).
Brethren, this sport is no mere innocent interest. Rather, it is a test of heart. So choose wisely.
Now, if you are not a football fan, and you have been thinking, “Tell ‘em like it is,” remember: football is just one of many different possible treasures that a person may have. Does your hobby, sport, television show, home, yard, garden, work, car, computer, boat, friends take priority over God? If so, these words are for you, too.
May our God help us put any interest in its proper, distant backseat place.

Gary Henson

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