We watched the broadcast of the College Football National Championship in Hebrew. That’s right, Kirk Herbstreit’s voice was covered over with Hebrew color commentary. It seemed, to many, that the Alabama-Georgia game was already of a biblical proportion, but the added Old Testament feel was certainly interesting.
While on a study tour of Israel, my wife, Angie, and I arose at 3 a.m. to join the rest of the Bulldog Nation in rooting Georgia into their (hopefully) first national Championship since 1980, my freshman year in college. For the second week in a row, we endured the stress of a nerve-wracking overtime outcome. I ask myself a question from time to time each winter: “Why do I invest so much emotionally into a silly football season?”
Immediately after the game was over, we hurried to make our way to breakfast before boarding a boat on the Sea of Galilee. In a span of less than an hour, we had moved from the frustrating disappointment of losing a National Championship to the incredibly moving experience of worshipping Christ on the very water he walked on. By the end of our day of touring, I realized that I hadn’t given much thought to the game or its outcome or my disappointment. I was soon afforded the luxury of an acutely accurate and proper perspective.
It seems as though there are far more important things in life than football. For instance, in the span of time it took to watch the National Championship, I subsequently shared a devotion where Jesus shared the Sermon on the Mount. I shared some thoughts concerning the miraculous just steps away from where an anemic woman touched the hem of His garment and was fully restored. I listened to my wife teach on the inclusivity of Christ on the shore where Peter was brought back into fellowship with the very Lord he betrayed three times. I had the privilege of baptizing devoted children of God in the waters of the Jordan river.
Of course, football is a non-consequential, temporary and superfluous distraction; but the principle remains. Many people rise at 3 a.m. for many other reasons like radiation sickness, anxiety over a marriage, or the pain of losing a loved one. Perhaps people in such pain need not stand where Jesus stood or walk where Jesus walked, on water or otherwise. But people in pain can stand on His promises. People in loss can appreciate His fellowship on a sea shore or in the middle of the night.
People can still bank on His miraculous restoration.
My plans for the coming week in Israel include many special visits to many special places that will remind me of a very special love found only in Christ (more on that in posts to come). I don’t know what you have planned or where you will be but I know He is very interested in being with you. You, like I, will likely be distracted by many things that aren’t all that important. Perhaps we should be reminded through a silly football game that there are far more important things that mustn’t go neglected. Let’s not forget to love Him and love our neighbor on our way to walking out our calling. The simple things of faith mustn’t ever be Greek to us… or for that matter, Hebrew, should they?
-Pastor Gary Hewins
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