We are just one day away from the kickoff of Super Bowl LII (52), arguably the biggest sporting event of the year. This year’s game is between the reigning champions, the New England Patriots, led by the dynamic duo of Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady (winners of five titles since both joined the team in 2000), and the team from the city that always seems to carry a chip on its shoulder, the Philadelphia Eagles, led by backup QB Nick Foles. These two teams also met in Super Bowl XXXIX, with the Patriots winning 24-21.
Not only do millions of viewers watch the game on television, but the amount of food and beverage consumed at Super Bowl parties is second only to Thanksgiving in the amount of food consumed in one day. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans will consume 1.35 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday. Those wings, along with cold cut subs, pizza, chili, and potato chips and dip, will be washed down with over 300 million gallons of beer.
You might be a fan of one of the two teams, maybe you are just enjoy the game of football, it could be you watch the game just to see the commercials, or possibly you are looking forward to the halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake. Or maybe, you just use it as an excuse to consume too much food and drink.
During this year’s Super Bowl, ordinary people will turn fanatical and pour every ounce of their existence into cheering for their team. Not only that, many will be dressed from head to toe in their team’s logo gear. But when the game is over, and the last chicken wing is eaten, these fanatics become ordinary people again, with ordinary families and ordinary jobs. The word “fan,” shortened version of fanatic, is defined as an “enthusiastic devotee (usually as a spectator) or an ardent admirer (of a person).”
Sadly, many of us relate to Jesus that same way. For an hour or so when we go to church or small group meetings we are like those fans during the Super Bowl; we go wild for Jesus, but when the service is over, we go home and become “normal” again.
Fans cheer while followers learn from their teacher and then help in spreading the good news of that teacher. Jesus calls us to be more than fans. He calls us to be followers (disciples). The dictionary defines a disciple as “a pupil or follower of any teacher or school of learning, religion, art, etc. and one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrine of that teacher.” So in other words, a disciple of Jesus is someone who is obedient to Him. It is someone who seeks God’s guidance and His purposes and plans, in everything by praying listening, seeking wise counsel, and responding.
So this weekend, be a fan of your favorite team and cheer like mad during the Super Bowl. Also, commit yourself to being a disciple of Jesus, allowing Him to change you and in the process begin to make you more like Him. Don’t just be a fan of Jesus, be His follower!
New Bern, North Carolina