Football And Self

If you know me at all, you know I love football. I have played, coached and I even announce high school games on the radio. I really enjoy watching pro football. I have three favorite pro teams: The Bears, the Chargers and whoever is playing the Patriots.

This past Sunday was a good day of playoffs for me. The Bears had won their game earlier in the morning, and the Jets were ahead of the Patriots. I was still worried, though. Tom Brady and the Patriots are harder to keep down than a haggis, head cheese and limburger sandwich! So when Shonn Greene of the Jets scored what appeared to be the game-sealing touchdown, I was excited. Then Greene did something really dumb. Using the football like a pillow, he acted like he was taking a nap in the end zone. This is a clear violation of the NFL’s excessive celebration rule, and the Jets were penalized fifteen yards, to be enforced on the following kickoff. What a moron!

CBS’s announcer, Jim Nantz, felt the same way. Here’s what Nantz had to say, “I’ve never understood the absurdity of all the self-aggrandizing and now you’re going to cost your team 15 yards on the kick and you’re going to give Brady and his unit a chance to do something.”

Nantz was in the right. Why make a huge deal out of doing what you are paid a ton of money to do? I understand being excited, Greene had every right to be jazzed. But why do something that you know is going to cost your team, just so you can show off? I agreed with Nantz at the time, and still do. What has been interesting, though, has been the response of fans and bloggers. Nantz has been criticized for his negative remarks about Greene’s act.

Our society today is all about one person: you! You alone are the arbiter of what is right and wrong for your life. You alone are the only person that matters. If something (or someone) isn’t making you happy, get rid of it (or them). Marriages and even parenting are now more about what we get out of them than what we can put into them.

Lives are lost because the wrong person “disrespected” the wrong person, or wore the wrong color jacket in the wrong part of town. Your life is nowhere near as important as mine, so it is perfectly fine for me to step in front of you at the store or for you to have to listen to my conversation during a movie. If you don’t like it, tough. Move on or just get used to it. This is my world, you’re just a bit player in it.

The problem is that, as Christians (heck, even as decent people), we can’t and shouldn’t live that way.

Jesus told his disciples, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 (NIV)

What a concept. To be great you have to be humble. To be a leader you have to be a follower. To really live you have to give your life for others! These are scary principles, and impossible without God’s help.

Jesus didn’t call us to an easy life, he called us to an impossible, fruitful, impacting and fulfilling life. He called us to a life that puts the needs of others ahead of our own. A life of sacrifice and reward, a life of giving more than we receive, yet we receive more than we can imagine.

Doesn’t that sound like a better, more fulfilling life than the one you lead now? It is, that’s why Jesus said, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 (The Message)

More and better life than they ever dreamed of! All because we follow a Savior who gave his life for us. Not bad…

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Still agreeing with Jim Nantz… Jerry

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