Spiritual Superbowl

The recent Superbowl was more than an athletic contest. It was a country-wide event. Even people who never watch American football made plans to gather and observe. Some watch for the commercials. Some for the halftime show. Some watch to glean conversation fodder for the next day’s office chats. And some actually watch the game.

But even those who intentionally choose not to watch, can’t completely avoid the subject. Almost certainly at least one person will ask if they watched the game. The next day’s news centers on the outcome and surrounding chatter. The commercials repeat and are the topic of discussion. Remaining ignorant of all things Superbowl-related would require a great deal of effort.

When God calls us to do something, we are often confronted by a crossroads––a choice. One way represents the easy road, possibly the one we’ve been on for a while. The other direction represents the more difficult path. This could be, and often is, the one God is asking us to travel. We must carefully examine our choices and not allow the ease of one path sway us into taking that route if it leads us away from our calling.

Sometimes the easy path may be the way we should go. Occasionally, it will coincide with God’s vision for us. But you can bet that will be short-lived. Look at the heroes of the Bible. Which of them walked an easy, comfortable road?

Abraham? He was told to pack up and move with no destination in mind. God would show him the place. He could have said, “no.” He could have taken the easy (or at least the seemingly easy) way and stayed put. He could have told God, “When you show me where, then I’ll go.” What would he have missed out on along the way? He grew his faith and trust, both of which he would need later in abundance.

David? How many animals did he fight and kill as a young boy. And don’t forget the giant. His own father didn’t consider him king material and left him in the field during the prophet’s visit. A king chased him through the countryside intent on killing him. Armies attacked. He occasionally took the easy road. Well, maybe easy is the wrong word. How about the pleasant road? Remember Bathsheba?

David paid for his forays into choosing the well-trod path. Things didn’t go as smoothly as he hoped. It happens like that with us, too. When we feel the Holy Spirit’s nudge to speak to someone about the Gospel, we are at a crossroads. Do we choose the “easy” path and smile as we walk by? Or do we stop and engage them. Ask some questions? Start a conversation?

The football players on both teams answered a call. They didn’t rise to the top of a difficult profession without a passion for developing their talents to become the best at what they were called to do. The path to the Superbowl is not an easy one. The hours of work, sacrifice, and hardship paid off for those players. They chose the hard road.

But what about the spectators both in attendance and watching around the world on televisions and other devices in homes and public places. They collectively benefitted from the sacrifices and choices made by the players. They watched while the players played.

Jesus called all Christians to share the Good News. It is our mission as His followers. Are you a player or a spectator? Are you willing to choose the difficult path to develop your talent for God’s purpose? Or are you content to be a fan, cheering the success of others from the comfort of your armchair?