Well, it was a heart breaking loss for the Falcons in the Super Bowl on Sunday. There are a lot of sad Atlanta fans as I write these words. I admit I felt the heartbreak too as I watched the Patriots come back in the fourth quarter to win a game everyone thought the Falcons had in the bag. But Monday morning, I felt my spirits “rise up” within me again as the Lord reminded me what’s really important. It isn’t a game or a football team or a Super Bowl ring. It’s the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:33 – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
It happens every year on the first Sunday in February. The NFL spends a tremendous amount of money (and makes even more) by hyping up the Super Bowl until it seems it is the most important thing in the world. They never say, “Well, it’s just a game.” To a lot of the players it is more than a game. A lot of money and fame is at stake. It can even open up a lifetime of doors for the coaches and athletes who win a Super Bowl ring (just as Fred Stokes said at our Super Bowl Sunday Service).
However, we fans sometimes need to remember, it is just a game for us. The Falcons’ loss was an emotionally charged event for many, many people in our area. But think about it: it doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on 99.99% of your life. An emotional loss like this can be a good time to reflect on what really is important in your life. Doing so can help you enjoy watching sports more—whether you win or lose—and keep a proper perspective.
Though the Falcons lost, Pleasant Grove had an incredible “win” in church this Sunday. There were at least 177 people in worship. We had 20 people visit our church. The seeds of God’s Word were planted as many were moved by Fred Stokes’ powerful testimony. He shared how God has been in control of his life and is in control of ours too. He shared how his Super Bowl victory in 1992 was just a tool God used to open doors for more important work in Fred’s life—speaking in schools and churches, working with kids and young men. God has plans for all of us—plans that are so much more important than a Super Bowl. Are you focused on the plans God has for you? Are you ready to do the truly important work of His Kingdom?
I was deeply moved by one of Fred’s stories in particular. He shared how his great aunt took him to church every Sunday when Fred was a child. Sometimes, the only people at church were Fred and his great aunt, but they had the service anyway. She would give Fred some money before the service and ask him to put it in the offering plate. At the time, it must have seemed an insignificant and futile affair. What could come of such a small church service with just and old lady and a small child in attendance? What difference do a few coins placed in an offering plate make? How could that ever compare to the spectacle of a Super Bowl? Yet years later, Fred revealed how significant those services were—how it shaped who he became, carried him through a depression and attempted suicide, kept him grounded through his failures and his victories, and pointed him towards something truly important and eternal: faith in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps today, in the aftermath of the Super Bowl, we can all remember what’s really important so that we can push ahead with the truly significant work God has for us. Of course, I’m no expert and I certainly don’t claim to know everything, but that’s the Truth as far as I can tell…
Remember, God loves you and so do I!