Saturday, February 4, 2012

We Still Play the Game

They weren’t supposed to win. 

Or at least, not by most assessments.  With a 15-1 regular season record, the Green Bay Packers were ready and able to take on the NY Giants and their 9-7 record. 

The Packers had the advantage.  A high-powered offense led by a talented and mobile quarterback, multiple weapons at the receiver positions, and a defense that attacks the offense with zeal and tenacity. 

On the other side, the giants had an up and down season, slow to find their rhythm, recovering from serious injuries. 

The Packers had a 2-week rest and prepare time.  The Giants were coming into the Packer’s house having to ward off the wild card team and a regular one-week preparation time for this game. 

On the panel, 4 out of 5 anchors chose the Packers over the Giants.  The one who chose the Giants, a former Giants player who knew that the attitude of his former team had not changed since he'd played for them.

People were expecting to see the Packers in the Super Bowl XLVI [that’s 46].

The Giants came out on top, 37- 20.

The following week, the Giants were up against another strong team that people had been talking about all season: the San Francisco 49ers.  After years of disappointment and unrest, it seemed the 49ers were finally changing things around with a young head coach full of knowledge and passion for the game, as well as other key pieces taking place on the team.

Again, people were expecting the 49ers in the Super Bowl now that the Packers were knocked out.  Never mind that the Giants had just beaten the heavy favorite the week before.

And again, the Giants pulled out the win in overtime, 20-17.

Now the Giants will face the New England Patriots in a rematch [of sorts] in which the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2008.

Okay, so I’m no sport-writer.  The gist of it is that in the two playoff games, the Giants were considered the underdogs and yet they won both times.

I can’t write sports.  I don’t have a mind for stats and records.  I have never played a serious game.  Still, I love watching sports, especially volleyball and football.  I enjoy the rivalries, the dedication of the athletes to be in top performance shape, the respect of players for other players, all of that.  It’s inspiring for so many things.

The Giants wins inspired this post.

Regarding a political debate, a friend once commented that it was most likely that a certain law will be passed eventually.  She thought that her generation was probably less interested in changing things through politics and more interested in social changes.

It seemed to me as if she was saying that Christians should focus their efforts in areas other than politics.      

While I agree that a certain law will probably be passed at some time in the future, and that Christian involvement in other areas are vital, I believe that Christians have a duty to be involved in politics as well. 

In whatever area that God has placed you, with whatever gifting God has blessed you, get involved.  No matter how impossible the task may seem, “play the game.”

Here’s what I learn from the Giants wins and God’s book.

1. Play the game.

Critics and analysts do not determine the outcome of a game.  If they did, there would be no reason for the Giants or the Packers to play the game.  Even if it had turned out that the Packers won, both teams still needed to play the game.

As Christians, we need to “play the game.”  When the odds are not in our favor, when it seems there is no hope in our situation, we move forward, we get involved as representatives of Christ. 

And we know who wins in the end- not the Giants, not the Packers- not even specifically us and definitely not the devil and his minions- it’s God.  God wins in the end.

2.   Get past the penalties and mistakes.

We might rightly earn a penalty.  We might get a bad call against us.  We have no control over it.

Either way, get up, dust it off, and get ready for the next play. 

And making errors?  Fumbling the ball?  Same thing.  Get up.  Dust yourself off.  Get ready for the next play. 

Men do not make perfect judges.  The only perfect judge is God.

3.  Why play like an underdog?

People might think you’re the underdog.  You might actually be the underdog. 

You will always be the underdog if you play like one. 

Think David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.  Goliath was the champion from Gath.  He was huge.  David was from a small town of Bethlehem.  He was a boy.  He was a shepherd.

In verse 26, David says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  He’s given the king’s armor but David couldn’t manage with it on so he took it off.  Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.[Verse 40]. 

David calls out to Goliath, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” [Verse 47].

This is the attitude with which the Christian ought to attack our circumstances.  Cliché, yes, but it isn’t about winning or losing; it’s about how we play the game. 


Believe it or not, that’s what I got for now.  Not to worry, I’ve got more sports analogies to come in the future I’m sure. 

[Image Source] 
For now, I repeat: in whatever area that God has placed you, with whatever gifting God has blessed you, get involved.  No matter how impossible the task may seem, no matter what outcome is most probable, “play the game.”

How are you living?  Are you living at your fullest?  Are you reliving your mistakes or the bad calls against you? Are you living with God’s victory in mind?   

Are you living?

Thank you for reading and GO GIANTS!

*I know, I need to learn to write about one topic at a time and to stay on point. 
** I did not mean to imply that any one team is the “Devil’s representative” and that the other is the Christian representative.  I am not saying that if you’re a “good Christian” you ought to be a Giants fan.  I was raised by a Cowboys fan, alright?
*** And I’m not saying that life is exactly a game.  Games just come with a lot of good illustrations for life.

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