No one left early.
Super Bowl 52 is now in the books. It will command headlines today as the drama that took place in that majestic new stadium in Minneapolis is hashed and rehashed on sports pages and football blogs, as writers and hacks give their opinions on what happened.
As is often true, it was a game of quarterbacks. One of them registered 505 passing yards and three touchdown passes; the other came up short with just 373 in the air – with three touchdowns as well. And, a phenomenon unique to this Super Bowl: both quarterbacks tried some sleight-of-hand. Each team ran a play with their quarterback playing the role of receiver. The guy with the 500+ yards in the air bobbled the ball; the runner-up in passing yardage made the catch, which made a touchdown. It was a 60 minute face-off: Brady vs Foles.
But duels don’t win wars. The winning quarterback – according to the stats – was on the losing team. Brady was named the Most Valuable Player in the NFL – for the season – but the quarterback who was the runner-up in stats took home the Vince Lombardi trophy… and was named the Most Valuable Player of the night.
The only stat that mattered last night in Minnesota was the score when the clock ran out. Eagles: 41; New England: 33. Game over…
Life doesn’t pass without effects. Whether it’s 60 minutes on a football field, or 80 years on planet Earth, there are inconsequential minutes that produce no results… and there are actions and outcomes that prove meaningful and become historic. Each play – each day – starts with the same potential for impact, but most don’t make their way to the edited highlight reel that archives the unforgettable moments that made the difference.
The Super Bowl captures the attention of the culture, but every day of our life is being reviewed by the Official in Heaven, who never misses a moment. Life’s scoreboard will tell the tale; the stats will disappear, but the plays/days that mattered will never be forgotten.
From the Head Coach, to his 12 leaders-in-training: “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:28-30)
Each of those twelve men had a moment when their options were before them, and they made a judgment call. Would they stay on their prior course – living already-full lives that had no surplus of time and energy – or would they make the decision to align with the man and movement that claimed historic significance and eternal potential?
Here’s the principle: in life, the great breakthroughs always come at a valuable price. Both-and is our preference; either-or is the inescapable reality. You can play for the stats… or you can go for the win and be valuable in God’s Kingdom. The choice to favor individual records over team victory will get some ribbons… but it’s a decision that can prove costly. Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first…
Your life – today, and every day – is valuable and will be played with the clock running. Most plays will be forgettable; a few will matter. The ones that matter will either matter here, now… or later, there.
You’ll make that valuable choice…