It is all around us. It is inescapable.
Just in the last few weeks we have seen three devastating hurricanes and now another mass shooting, the worst in US history. And yet, the topic dominating the news for much of the past two weeks has been NFL players kneeling during the anthem. Really? Who cares if a bunch of overpaid, glorified entertainers want to stand, kneel, or wait in the locker room. If you don’t like it then find something else to watch but why waste a moment thinking or worrying about it. I’m sure the people of Puerto Rico couldn’t care less about the NFL players kneeling. I’m sure the victims of the Las Vegas shooting are not going to give a second thought to anything that happens in the NFL in the coming weeks. Life has a way of brutally reshaping our priorities.
I believe the apostle Paul was a sports fan. More than once he used a sports analogy in his letters to illustrate his point, but Paul’s focus was always on the Gospel. Even in the midst of tragedy and hardship – stoning, shipwreck, arrest, false accusations, friends abandoning him, fellow believers suffering, imprisonment, and ultimately execution – Paul never lost sight of how God was using him to impact eternity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul knew better than anyone that your well-constructed life can come crashing down at any moment. He knew better than anyone that your life, or the lives of your friends and family, can end in a moment. That is why he had an eternal perspective. That is why his highest priority was the Gospel. That is why, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote:
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain – for He says,
“At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” – giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
(2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10)
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX