Tomorrow, 100 million plus will sit in front of a TV and watch — commercials…
…and a little football.
The Super Bowl is the apex sporting event drawing viewers in over 200 countries.
Unparalleled, the world is its stage.
This year – in particular – the storylines are epic.
On one side you have Peyton Manning, arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. In addition to his list of accomplishments, Manning is notorious for being one of the classiest players in the NFL. His stellar reputation is only surpassed by his ironclad character.
In his biography Manning comments, ”I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way.”
– from ‘Manning’ (Harper Collins 2000)
Despite all of his accolades, Manning holds one NFL record with little prestige – the most playoff losses of any player, eleven. His twelve playoff appearances have only culminated in one Super Bowl ring.
After season ending neck surgery in 2011, many thought his career was over, including his lifetime franchise, the Indianapolis Colts. In 2012, he was released by the Colts as they chose to pursue their future with another quarterback at the helm. Subsequently, Peyton signed with the Denver Broncos. This year, he shattered single-season records taking his new team to the Super Bowl.
A chance at redemption.
On the other side, you have a true underdog; Russell Wilson. Standing five foot eleven – as opposed to Manning’s six foot five – he’s considered small by NFL standards and was told his height would restrict his opportunities. However, Wilson believes in something greater than the critics.
An incredible athlete, Wilson was drafted to play Major League baseball in 2010. However, in 2012, he told the Colorado Rockies organization that he wanted to pursue a career in the NFL.
Fulfilling a dream and promise to his late father, in only his second NFL season, Wilson will lead his Seattle Seahawks in vying for the sacred Lombardi Trophy.
Like Manning, Wilson attributes his lifestyle of generosity and charity to his faith in God. In a recent interview he said, “God has given me so many talents and I want to give Him all of the glory. Nobody can stop what God has for you.”
Overcoming odds, David vs. Goliath.
These two men are examples of the countless stories on both sides of the football Sunday night. However, in this storyline, I see a unique theme.
Good guy versus Good guy.
When you have icons like Justin Bieber and Kanye West longing for attention or trying to run from it, the bad guy seems plastered throughout popular culture.
Yet here are two men who live differently.
Two leaders we need to emulate.
They constantly praise their teammates over themselves, give rather than take and profess their faith as their foundation. It reminds me of a favorite verse from Micah:
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
In a world that defines richness by Super Bowl rings or touchdowns thrown, these two men stand out. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to win, they love winning. It means that in the game of life, they know they’ve already won.
As Russell Wilson recently tweeted:
#BVD In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 20, 2014
So I pose the question, “Who is God pulling for tomorrow night?”
I know this is simply rhetorical as God’s interests are larger than any sporting event.
But, who would he pull for?
Here’s my answer –
I feel like God’s pulling for the 100 million viewers.
He’s pulling for the people out there looking for a light – the people longing for something different.
He’s pulling for the people who, deep down, hope for another truth than the continued negativity the media floods into our living rooms.
God’s pulling for me.
God’s pulling for you.
My hope is that in the midst of commercials and football tomorrow God would show up. And with these two men at the helm, I’m confident that his character will be represented.
I’m reminded, God himself doesn’t take the stage that way.
Rather, He gives us the stage and grants us the ability to choose.
He loves us enough to allow the decision to be ours.
Could it be that we’re the ones taking the field, everyday?
Could it be that God is in the stands cheering for us as we carry His light into the world?
In my mind, if Russell Wilson or Peyton Manning had to pick who wins tomorrow, under this scenario, they’d pick you too!
So who are you cheering for?
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