This compares to just 20% of Americans who attend church regularly, down from 70% in 1960. Sounds like a new religion has emerged in America. In many ways, Super Bowl 2023 was a snapshot our nation – its culture, issues, and current milieu:
· This year’s Super Bowl was the first time that the Black National Anthem was sung,
· It was also the first NFL championship game where both teams were led by black quarterbacks,
· Sixteen billion dollars was legally gambled on the Super Bowl, much of which was by people desperate to improve their life circumstances,
· Many people watch the Super Bowl, not for the competition on the field, but for the commercials (which included two with a Christian theme), and
· the Super Bowl halftime show was a wanton display of human depravity.
First of all, we shouldn’t be surprised when we see human depravity. What would we expect from people who don’t know our Lord? We no longer live in a culture that embraces Christianity unequivocally. We no longer shop in stores that hide porn magazines behind the counter or watch TV shows or movies that embrace modesty. No, we live in a country growing antagonistic to Christianity.
Secondly, in the midst of this great spectacle put on by the woke NFL, we see points of light – the light of Christ. One of those was Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, named Most Valuable Player for the Super Bowl. Mahomes started his recent MVP acceptance speech with “First, I want to thank God for giving me this platform.”
But Mahomes was not only thankful to God for providing him with the opportunity to witness to the nation as the Super Bowl MVP. In an interview the week before, he described how he had suffered a high ankle sprain in the previous week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, an injury that typically requires six to eight weeks to heal. In two weeks to be able to perform at the Super Bowl level was unheard of, which Mahones recognized when he stated: “I wanna thank God, man. He healed my body this week to battle through that. He gave me the strength to be out there.”
So a Patrick Mahomes moment is when you have a unique opportunity to speak to an audience or take meaningful action, and they are all watching you. It might be 113 million people, as it was for Patrick Mahomes, or it might be for a much smaller group.
I had such a Patrick Mahomes moment several years ago when my sister Maurine and her family came down from Iowa for a visit. We had just visited the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, and as we got into my car, a very scruffy man came up to my driver’s side and asked for a little money, saying that he had not eaten all day. He did not appear to be on drugs and seemed to have a real and legitimate need. So while my nephews and nieces were all watching, I gave him some money. They were probably thinking: “I wonder how Uncle Mark will respond to his plea for help.”
You probably have had Patrick Mahomes moments, and you will have more. You have just completed an extraordinary task, or perhaps you have been selected for a high honor, and all eyes are on you as you are asked to respond to this honor. What are you going to say? Who gets the glory – you or God? A Patrick Mahomes moment is a rare moment in time when you have the opportunity to speak to the world about your honor and how it came about. Are you going to take all the credit for yourself (as you stretch to reach around and pat yourself on the back)? Perhaps you will give credit to your parents, your teammates, coach, or colleagues. But what about God? Did He not provide you with the innate abilities, parents, and circumstances that allowed you to flourish?
Be watching for Patrick Mahomes moments, because they often just pop up. And always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you, for time is short, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and eternity is forever.
To God be the glory