FaithView: February 7, 2021

By Joe Torosian

Super Bowl Sunday Edition

2 Timothy 4:2-5
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

This passage has often been used to measure the church’s spiritual compass or as an “end of the world” motivator.

I’ve used it for those topics before. It fits, it’s all Biblical, but, as my old friend George Moreno used to say, “One verse, Pastor, many applications.”

This business of being ready got hold of me this weekend. And since this is Super Bowl Sunday, I thought it would be good for us to take a look at what happens on this day.

The Super Bowl is a huge, transformational moment in the lives of the coaches, the players, and their families. It is the climax to dreams and lots of hard work. On top of all that, the world is watching.

We’re going to see emotions. We’re going to see players hugging and thanking their parents. Even with all the coldness of our culture, we are always moved by expressions of gratitude.

It’s a beautiful moment…

…And it’s something 99.99% of us will never experience.

Yet, when you really think about it—in light of the scripture we just read–100% of us will be engaged over the course of our lifetime in hundreds, if not thousands, of Super Bowls.

These moments are transformational, the climax of hopes and prayers, and the culmination of so much hard work.

But we won’t think about it because no one will be writing about it. There won’t be cameras flashing. We’ll never experience a balloon and confetti drop after one of our victories.

Not because it’s anyone’s fault, but because that’s how the world works. We shouldn’t expect adulation (and should be leery if we receive it). We have to press on…and…

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

Every day we face this battle. This spiritual battle coming against us, against the ones we love, and the things we are passionate about. No one is visibly rooting for us. We feel the culture and everything in it is working against us. People we assumed would be on our side of the field often don’t agree with our game-plan and decide to sit it out.

And when we win, it’s likely not to be celebrated, and there will undoubtedly be no confetti drop.

It’s exhausting. It feels like the game/the clash never stops. There’s never a moment to catch our breath…And the universe would definitely perish if we were ever given a bye-week.

We get worn out seeing sadness, separation, and death. I know I do. Sometimes I find myself dreaming of a little agreement, a little like-mindedness, hoping a timeout’s going to be called so we can reassess what we’re doing.

Sometimes I’ve asked God to leave me alone for a while. Because it seems like instead of scoring touchdowns, I’m kicking field goals…Instead of victories now, everything is being deferred to another moment still to come. 

I want some elation, I want celebration, I want the gratification that comes with great accomplishment. I want to see the confetti fall.

I was walking and prepping yesterday. and thinking… “We need a win, Lord! Give us a win!”

(To be clear, I’ve never heard the audible voice of God. For me, he taps out what I need to know on my heart and never stops tapping until I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.)

So I’m walking and thinking, we need a win. My life needs a win, my church needs a win, there a lot people who need a win.

And what came back as I was walking through the neighborhood in bright sunshine and breezy 70-degree weather?

“I own you.”

That’s not what I wanted to hear…But I heard it. So I couldn’t come back and say, “Excuse me, what did you say?”

“I own you,” is what tapped out on my heart. “Didn’t you surrender your will for mine? Didn’t you stand in that mowed-down Mexican cornfield on March 23, 1989…and declare that I was going to be Lord? I own you. You’re mine.”

And the scripture came next: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a day off in any of that.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday. In football speak, the game goes a lot easier for the quarterback if the offensive line is blocking and the running backs are picking up the blitz. It’s even better when the receivers are running the right routes and getting open.

We can dream of a world where everyone is making their blocks and supporting their friends and loved ones. We can fantasize that we’re picking up the enemies blitz package, and folks aren’t getting knocked to the ground. And we can have hope that everyone we’ve sent out is running the routes designed for them and doing great work.

But that’s not the world we live in. Our clashes with the enemy are not televised, prioritized, or even synchronized to work in perfect order. 

Our clashes are messes, and they never follow the game-plan…and instead of 55-thousand people in the arena cheering for us…We feel all alone.

But God is there saying, “I own you. You gave yourself to me…”

Now,…Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

And then he adds this when I start to feel overwhelmed…

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I’ve always done my job. I’ll continue to do my job…but when does the confetti fall? When does the band play?

When do I get to put on the headset and say, “Well it was tough out there today, Jim. But we took care of the ball, minimized our mistakes, and the team came through like it always does.”

When do we get to declare, “We’re going to Disneyland!”…?

Likely never…At least not while we’re in this dimension of space and time.

Still, I want to know, when?

“When what?”

“When is the confetti going to fall?”

“Joe,” the Lord tapped, “the confetti fell the moment you surrendered to me.”

I/we can’t see it through the eyes of this world. I can’t see it through the experiences of the day to day…but in reflection…and in regard to the empowerment received over a lifetime…in terms of the endless moments when I was overwhelmed by the peace that passes understanding during an ICU crucible.

That was the confetti falling.

Every day we get out of bed and step up to clash against what is before us…That’s our Super Bowl…It’s not once in a lifetime…It’s every day. All of us face this every day…And in the balance is the transformational, the life-altering, the fulfillment of hopes, prayers, and endless work.

And it’s because the confetti has already fallen…that we are to…

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

(Don’t sell that word patience short.)

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Psalm 39:4 
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.”

The Lord owns us. We’ve already won, so let’s do the job and bring others into the rain of cascading confetti. And let’s rejoice that we don’t get one moment, but hundreds—perhaps thousands—of moments. Where no measurement of man is necessary to qualify.

Boom!

Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.

www.JoeTorosian.com
jtbank1964@yahoo.com
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JoeT.’s weekly messages appear on Facebook Live Sundays (9:AM) and Wednesdays (5:30PM)
Joe hosts “The Ridge Show” Mon-Wed-Fri talking about Granite Ridge Christian Camp

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