January 29, 2000
One of television's major events will be broadcast tomorrow evening. Thousands will gather in
Atlanta's Georgia Dome to watch the game, and millions more will be glued to their television
sets for this finale of the National Football League.
Still millions of other people will not give a hoot about the big game. They could care less, thinking it rather silly for people to spend so much time and money watching "Titans" and "Rams" play each other.
Which brings me to the question, What will you be doing during the Super Bowl game? Is it "special" to you or just another Sunday night?
I can recall several times watching the Super Bowl game with my four young sons. Mom would tolerate the five of us enjoying the game as we munched on popcorn, cookies, pizza or hamburgers. Usually we each put up a quarter bet, with the winner being the one who predicted the closest to the final score.
I remember that it was not possible to keep the boys focused on the game. Before halftime they would scamper into the back yard to test their own football skills. Now and then they would come back inside just long enough to see if their team was winning or losing.
As the years have come and gone my interest in the game has waned terribly. That may be because my favorite team never plays in the Super Bowl, or perhaps because the game is seldom very exciting. A few years back I would tape the game so I could watch it later, but learning the score, I lost interest in replaying it. I cannot remember ever replaying the video of a single game I taped.
Being the pastor of a church that expects me to preach every Sunday night makes it no mystery what I will be doing during the Super Bowl. I will be at church taking care of business, even though some of my finest members will be at home watching the game and, they say, praying for me to have a wonderful sermon. They want me to do well even when they are not there. Isn't that special?
A few of my "strongest" Christian men will show up for church at the last minute, whisper the score to me during the offering, and if it is a close game, urge me to preach a powerful short sermon. They will remind me that some of my best sermons were only ten minutes long. I love these guys. When I consider the sacrifice they make to be at church and miss some of the game, it brings me almost to tears.
Their sacrifice always prompts me to do some serious thinking. After all it is not the length of a sermon that makes it effective; a long sermon can indeed be quite boring. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address lasted only seven minutes, so short can be beauitful. And shouldn't I pay attention to the needs of the fine men in my church?
So I am inspired folks. Just writing about this burning issue has fired me up. I am fairly dripping with inspiration now; my heart is gripped by the urge to prepare a powerful, but short, sermon for Sunday night. If Abe could do it, I can do it too.
My men will love me. They will brag about my preaching for months. Plus, after I walk nonchalantly away from the pulpit, and once outside rush to my car, I can get home in time to watch most of the fourth quarter. If it is a close game, that will be the best part.
Mom will fix some popcorn and we will remember the good old days when the boys were home to watch the game with us. She will actually try to seemed interested.
We used to live in Nashville so I am pulling for the Titans. Anybody want to take the Rams and put up a quarter? There is only one condition: you must not tell anyone because my people know that I am against gambling.