Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Maybe This Is the Year

My family is an NHL family. For me, the NFL and NHL are neck to neck -- but for the rest of my family it's the NHL hands down. So for us, it's just about the best time of year, as the NHL playoffs start Wednesday, and our team has a really good shot to go all the way.

Actually, this is one of those times of the year when sports are at their peak. NHL and NBA playoffs are starting or just around the corner; Draft Day is rapidly approaching for the NFL, and MLB has got another season underway.

I'm always intrigued by the place professional sports have in our lives. It's one of the few things that can pull tens of thousands of people together behind a common objective.

Each year -- or at least most years -- hope springs eternal. Maybe this is the year when our team goes all the way.

Name something else we're as passionate about -- whooping and hollering, laughing and shouting or -- when the bottom drops out -- cut to the heart. Few things move us like the power of sports.

And this might be the year when your team takes it all the way, and brings home the championship. That's happened a few times in St. Louis. The Rams were Super Bowl champs; the Cardinals have been World Series champs many times. I remember being ecstatically happy over sporting events -- but it was kind of like a "sugar high." It provides a quick pick-up, and then a sudden crash. In a few months the offseason is over and next season rolls around. Then it doesn't matter what happened last season, we start from scratch all over again.

Sports are a great pastime. They add a lot of zest and passion to life. But so many of the things we really look forward to in this life are just like that. Maybe you were the star jock, or musician, or actor in high school. But you go back three or four years later, and it's not your place anymore; nobody can remember your name. It seems like the winds of time blow over us, and we wither and fly away. In the end, our place "remembers us no more" (see Psalm 103).

So, yes, I'm going to enjoy this NHL post-season and hope my team passes around Lord Stanley's cup in a few weeks. But that glory is fleeting, just as it is for every team that hoists the Lombardi Trophy, the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the Commissioner's Trophy, or even the Thomas Cup.

What we really should take delight in is the contest that Jesus Christ won for us. Every one of us stood as spectators on the sidelines. He was the only One qualified to compete. And He went out and won the prize. But He didn't win it for Himself.

He won it for us.

Of course, it's the crown of everlasting life. And to win it, He sacrificed His body; He gave His blood, sweat and tears. But when He was dying on the cross and it looked like the contest was lost, He snatched victory from seeming defeat, and completely overwhelmed Satan, sin, death and hell. And unlike sports where a new victor is crowned every season, this is a victory we rejoice in year after year. It's a triumph we will celebrate throughout all eternity in heaven, and all because of our Champion, Jesus Christ, God's only Son.

Now that's something to get excited about!

Without Googling it-can you guess which sport boasts the Thomas Cup?

How do sports figure into your life? What is it that gets you amped up year after year?

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