The other day I was driving behind a car with a bumper sticker that read: “Football is my life!” I thought to myself, “Seriously?” What will happen to this poor guy after the Super Bowl?
Perhaps, if his team wins maybe he will be going to Disney World. But again, I return to life. Not make-believe life, but real life. Yes, the commercials on the Super Bowl were eye-catching and some were actually entertaining. This is not a spoiler but I guess you probably know a thirty-second commercial for the Super Bowl cost $6.5 million. Thirty seconds. $6.5 million. Wow. That is jaw-dropping. But guess what? There were times, I got up and left the room during several of the Super Bowl commercials. Think of the money wasted on a guy like me.
Now, perhaps you may be wondering where I am going with this. It is not a rant, nor a diatribe against the Super Bowl or, for that matter, professional football. I am not a spoiled-sport. But I will say football is not my life. And I will also say when we have conversations with the next generation it is often best to start with the basics. Simply ask the question: “Who are you following for life?” Joe Burrow? Snoop Dogg? Sam Adams? Nielsen and Gallup want to know. But we need to be attentive as well.
You see, $6.5 million for a 30-second commercial might make sense to those in the marketing world but it is a choking point for me. In fact, I imagine all of you to whom I am writing have better things to do with your money. We have a perspective and a philosophy — call it a faith — that will be with us tomorrow. It is found not on a car’s bumper sticker but it is literally seen through our vision for life and it appears within our character — our heart, soul and mind — and through the actions of each and every one of us, today, yesterday and tomorrow.
This Word is not stuck with an adhesive backing but it reverberates and it is held by forming and shaping our identity, morning, noon and night. It is not the chant of a cheerleader, but the chant of a monk, a giggle from a playful child, a smile from a surprised student, a thumbs-up from an overworked doctor, more coffee served by a pleasant waitress. The list and the needs are endless. Everyday people. Ordinary days. Aware of the extraordinary that has entered life with blessings and grace.
These words and actions find their source embodied in the Word made flesh. This is our life. We are not anxiously awaiting a first-down, or a touchdown, much less a win. You know the hymn: “The strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won.” What once separated us from God is now defeated. As a result, death has lost its sting and we find joy in this life with God. And Jesus makes this eternal, never ending, immortal life, available to us right now. There is an abundant life with God, here on earth, just as it is in heaven.
Interestingly enough, there is no price we can pay for this Word. It has already been given on a Cross. The message is longer than 30-seconds. It will last forever. Sure, we can get up and leave the room like it is a commercial. But the Word is not confined to time, or space, or the boundaries and walls we create. His presence is a real presence. He will not leave. And His Word is the Word of God. Jesus Christ is our life. When we are ready, His invitation is extended and it is heard loud and clear: “Follow me.”
So, we begin our conversations with the next generation starting with the basics. Simply ask them the question: “Who are you following?”