This year’s Super Bowl is more something to do for the commercials than the game itself. Sure, getting together with friends and tailgating might be worth the effort, but the game is a non-factor for me. The 49ers and the Ravens don’t light me up and get my juices flowing. Last night’s Pro Bowl was even worse. I know there are some of you out there who love San Francisco or Baltimore. Good for you. I’m just not that thrilled.
Wow, did I just describe the Super Bowl or prevalent attitudes about Christianity and the local church? We go to church and listen to the commercials about activities that might be interesting. We enjoy the food and fellowship at a church dinner, but the notion of being more than a fan of Jesus is a little much for our taste. Our passions don’t run that high so we go to church with low expectations and our prophecies are self-fulfilled. No wonder the “Nones” are turned off by religion. I’m so tired of hearing church members say, “I don’t get fed at my church.” It’s not for you to get fed. It’s for you to do more feeding. Do that and your soul will find delight in the Lord!
However, we live in a world where people get killed over soccer games while Christian martyrdom is almost unheard of, at least in the West. Can I get as jacked up about Jesus as I do about the upcoming South Carolina baseball season? Is my discipleship shallow or deep, passive or passionate, half-hearted or all-in? If I’m as blah about Jesus and the church as I am about this year’s Super Bowl then it’s time for me to experience repentance and revival.
Ouch, now there’s a word we love to hate: repentance. At the conclusion of Luke’s Gospel (24:46-47), Jesus departs with these final words: “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations …” I can dig the forgiveness part a lot more than repentance, but being a Christ follower entails both.
Discipleship isn’t for the faint of heart or those who want to play it safe. In the spiritual Super Bowl we are called to grow up and grow deeper in the faith. Hebrews 6 comes to mind with its warnings: “Leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity…land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” Scary!
Maybe what I need to do this Sunday is focus on what Sunday is really meant for: worship. I just looked at my liturgical calendar and it didn’t say anything about it being Super Bowl Sunday. Instead of watching a game that doesn’t matter to me, I need to get in the game that matters to God. Jesus calls us to higher things. It’s time to grow up and get into the real game!