• Jennifer Hastings

Football Faith: Get in the Game!

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

In the SEC we are a like a big redneck family. We will fight to the death, but we still cheer for each other over other conferences.

We are fiercely loyal to our teams even when they lose. Even in the midst of a losing season. Even in the midst of several losing seasons, we stick with our team.

You see I am a Tennessee fan. I always have been and always will bleed orange in the best of times (1998) and even in the worst of times (2017) they will forever be my team.

I’m not going to lie, it gets hard cheering for a losing team year after year. Week after week, fumble after fumble, interception after interception, loss after loss, it seems nothing goes right for my team. If it can wrong, it will. Even still, they are my team…

So we watch… We buy tickets… We dress our kids in game day gear… We invite our GA friends over to watch the game knowing it will be painful for us…

And we wait for better times, hoping another Manning will sign on and led us to a winning season and championship game!

I think God placed a need in all of our hearts to belong to a team. To feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all want to be a part of the winning team. There is something so sweet about the roar of a stadium when your team crosses the goal line and the crowd goes wild. You start high-fiving people you don’t even know because you are united by the love of your team.

When you are a part of God’s team, you are also part of something bigger than yourself. We are united by his love for us. Singing a song in church surrounded by other believers is kind of like my team catching a pass in the end zone for me. It helps me feel connected to God's team. It reminds me that no matter how hard life is at the moment, God is still in charge. When my own life scoreboard looks likes Tennessee's final scoreboard, I know that God is not finished with my story yet. The best is yet to come.

Tennessee’s current slump has me thinking about how as Christians, we seem to be losing here on Earth. We live in a culture where the crowd collectively thinks... what's in it for me? I wonder what our founding fathers would say about the condition of our world today. Would they be proud of our actions? Would they find us worthy of their sacrifice?

We are a generation so far removed from a Savior who washed the disciples’ feet. Serving? What is that? Most people are only serving themselves. I am including myself in "most people". When is the last time I've done something that was completely selfless? When have I donated my time or money knowing I would not receive anything in return except a feeling of purpose and love? We have come a long way from the public embracing JFK’s famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”. I don’t think the quote would take off in popularity today. Taking the right selfie seems to be the driving force in life for most millennials and gen Z kids.

It can be discouraging to watch a three-hour football beat-down, just as it can break your heart to watch the nightly news. The news is a constant reminder that our world is hurting and needs a savior. Our world seems to be spiraling out of control. Yet, God told us it would be this way. He says in Proverbs 14:12, there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Current culture cannot be our true north. If we follow society for what is normal, we will be like a log in the ocean drifting far from truth. We must learn what God's word says about life. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.

God never promised our Earthly journey would be easy, but he is reminding me that our final score says VICTORIOUS! He has won the battle over our sins for us!

So even though it will be a miracle if TN pulls out a winning season, I am reminded at least I am a part of God’s team and the war has already been won. So, if we are on God's team, the big question is... what are we doing to move the ball in the right direction? It is time for us to quit being spectators and get in the game. God wants us all to play our part in life. We all have different roles on the team and none of those jobs include being on the sidelines. Get in the game and let God use you to move his kingdom forward. What position do you play?


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