Now that the “Big Game” has been played and the “Good Guys” have been found victorious (sorry Patriots fans), let’s take a minute to focus on what matters most from last Sundays game. It isn’t the final score or even the fact that the Eagles won and the Patriots lost per se. To the chagrin of many in the media and those of you operating comfortably in our highly secularized culture, the focus was put squarely where it belonged – on God (2 Corinthians 1:20). At the end of the day, when the game clock struck 0:00, once the Fat Lady sang, and the celebratory Gatorade had been poured, those victorious on the world’s biggest stage gave all the glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).
For Eagles fans and those who pay attention to these sorts of things, this comes as no surprise. Sunday’s display of worship, praise, and Christian obedience (Philippians 2:11) was not an isolated event. Eagle’s players, coaches, and staff have become progressively more outspoken about their Christian faith throughout the 2017-18 season. More importantly, they have been living out these Christian values in the locker-room, on the field, at home, in the community, and in full view of an ever-increasing hostile media. Player testimonies (Carson Wentz; Nick Foles), weekly team/family bible studies, weekly chapel services, locker-room baptisms, pre/post-game prayer with opposing team members, and professionally produced team “faith” videos for release to the public all serve as a witness to this teams increasing adherence to Christian doctrine:
(1) To rely fully on the Lord (John 15:4-5);
(3) To take the Gospel, in word and loving practice, and witness to the lost “making disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:16-20).
These Christian teammates of the Philadelphia Eagles obviously remain Kingdom minded and Kingdom focused; leading a #RadicalMenRevival of Christian leadership in the home, at work, and in the community. However, after a week of watching multiple videos from the players and reading many articles on the open expression of the player’s Christian faith on social media, I am not as confident in the Kingdom mindedness and Kingdom focus of the self-identified Christian “bystander.” Hundreds of comments to these player videos and articles have left me with a couple issues around a couple central themes:
Issue #1: “God doesn’t care who wins the Super Bowl.”
Yes and no! Yes, it is true that God doesn’t care about who wins or loses any game for the “fleshly” or “earthly” reasons that so many of us do. He isn’t dawning an overpriced team jersey and war-paint on game day. He isn’t cloaking His house in His favorite team banner or colors. He isn’t throwing a brick through His 1,000,000” flat screen TV when His team loses. And He certainly isn’t looting and burning His own city when His team wins. God does however “take pleasure in his people” (Psalm 149:4). God most certainly delights in His declared children using the gifts with which He has adorned them for Kingdom purposes and to do so for HIS GLORY.
I have no issue or comment for the un-believer who thinks “God doesn’t care about the Super Bowl.” My concern is for those who call themselves followers of the Lord. My comments are for those who self-identify as Christians – followers of Christ, whom they rely on for salvation. God does care what you do with the platform you are given. He commands those who call Him Lord to use the gifts and talents all for His glory, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and action, and to make disciples of those who remain lost in the wilderness (1 Peter 4:10-11; Matthew 28:19). Instead of focusing time on those few who ARE using their gifts, talents, and platform accordingly, those of us whom might not be exhibiting the best stewardship should spend that time prayerfully with the Lord determining how we can become “tastier” salt and “brighter” light (Matthew 5:13-16) to an increasingly rotten and darkening world.
Fear not brothers and sisters, God is omniscient and omnipresent – His care for the Eagles and their Kingdom presence in no way diminishes His ability to care for the poor, sick, disenfranchised, abused, hurting, and lost among us.
Issue #2: “It is so awesome that President Trump brought back Christianity.”
In response to a group of men on the world’s largest public stage, declaring their hearts and lives for Christ and ultimately giving all the glory and credit for their success to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I saw the following or something similar dozens and dozens of times – “It is so awesome that President Trump brought back Christianity” or “President Trump is giving the masses permission to be open with their Faith.” Let me be PERFECTLY CLEAR on this. To all those who self-identify as “Christians,” President Trump HAS NOTHING TO DO with the Eagles team profession of and/or confession in the Lord Jesus Christ nor the Kingdom fruit being born out of such professions and/or confessions – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! To believe so BORDERS ON IDOLATRY – “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:20-21). Please note, if you are pressing into anything or anyone other than the Holy Spirit on this issue you are attempting to steal away from God the praise and glory these men have just shuttled His direction.
The Holy Spirit is doing great work in the lives of these men; in their homes, in the locker-room, and in their community. The Holy Spirit is also doing great work in the life of our President (notice the emphasis on President Trump as the object of the Holy Spirits efforts and not the purveyor of those efforts). As a result, President Trump has become a public witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, though a very tarnished witness as are we all.
The sweetest part about the outcome of Super Bowl LII is this: After all the negative attention the NFL has received due to the #ALLABOUTME victimhood culture of Colin Kaepernick and the other “kneelers” in the league; after six months of me, me, me, cultural rot, and derision within the league seeping out into the culture; on its final day, on its biggest stage, God publicly took back the glory.