If you profile my alma mater, you will discover Penn State University. Let me introduce you to this school nestled in the Appalachian Mountains with its nearby historical Amish population. Uniquely, it has its own post office mailing address (University Park, Pennsylvania) and houses a campus population that enthusiastically embraces football.
Despite this saturation, I never quite grasped the rules or the rabid passion of diehard football fans until I was advanced in adulthood.
With Super Bowl LVII (57) in the history books, I began to reflect on what might be called the accessories of the game. For example, the money the winners and losers earn and the perks the players get for just being in the game. For many of you ardent fans, this will be old trivia. On the other hand, I am in the stunned group that shows open-mouth shock.
This year’s Superbowl-winning players each received $157,000. The losing players each received $82,000. This is only part of the pudding.
For the winners, an additional $150,000 is added to their pre-game bonuses for winning their Wild Card and Divisional and conference playoffs. Unsuccessful Super Bowl players each received $75,000, and like the winners, supplementals for winning their Wild Card playoffs and Divisional and conference playoffs were added.
To round off the perks, there are the Super Bowl Rings made with slight differences given to each player, and the coveted sterling silver, Lombardi Trophy, reserved for the winning team.
If we could go behind the scenes, we would learn that each football team coach depends upon his secret encyclopedia of plays and strategies they believe will make them a winning team. This book is confidential and only shared by team members and players. The players must memorize all the plays and strategies within the treasured playbook.
Everyone wants to be a winner, so it is crucial that the rest of us consult our winning playbook—the real one. It contains everything we need to be a success in our life journey, and it can be shared with anyone.
The Bible is the greatest guide on how to win ever published. It is the metaphorical, spiritual playbook of life.
It is inspired by God, who loves us with an everlasting love and who cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:18) The Bible is written to offer us truth, correct our faults, and lead us into freedom and obedience so we will be fully equipped to live and win throughout life’s journey. (2 Timothy 3: 16)
I have heard famous people, religious organizations, and some pastors misquote, misinterpret, and mislead the truth of God’s playbook. Too often, fake or false statements about His playbook have dangerously adverse outcomes for those seeking the truth.
Far too often, people equalize the Church with God and make the Church responsible for their absentee relationship with Christ. They also make God responsible for everything that is evil and dark. But the Church is not God. It is made up of imperfect people who need to open the spiritual playbook as much as you or I. Anyone who claims they want to know about a loving and kind God but never opens the blessed Word that tells the story of His love and freedom He promised for the whole world, will always be critical of the Church.
Hearing someone say, “I will have to give up everything to follow God,” is an unhealthy and distorted viewpoint. God is a God of freedom and love. We are not pre-programmed computers or robots. He gave us free will to make up our own playbook. But if we choose to do it our way, without learning what’s in the official, genuine playbook, we place our journey under the direction of someone or something that is not good.
God is the perfect coach who will always make it possible for you to take home the trophy of Grace. He offers His bonuses of faith, forgiveness, peace, and abundant life.
(John 10:10; John 14:27; John 16:33)
It is time to discover and learn the substance of the only playbook that includes a priceless guarantee that we will always be on the winning team!