The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in yesterday’s Super Bowl by a score of 31 to 20. The Chiefs came back from a ten-point deficit in the fourth quarter to give their beloved head coach, Andy Reid, his first NFL championship.
What about the game will be remembered long after the score is forgotten?
Patrick Mahomes was “always about the other person”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is now the first quarterback in NFL history to win a Most Valuable Player award, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP by the age of twenty-five. However, he has been known for his humility since high school.
According to his coaches, “He was always about the team, always about his teammates, always about the other person.” Mahomes has been following Jesus since coming to faith in middle school.
Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt has been active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action. He says, “As a Christian, I think God has given me that platform to say, ‘Hey, I’ve allowed you to do a lot of things, and I need you to speak my Name.’”
49ers receiver Jordan Matthews became a Christian during his second year in the NFL and says “everything changed.” Another 49ers receiver, Marquise Goodwin, made headlines when he and his wife lost a premature son just hours before a game but continued to trust the Lord.
And Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt has been very public about his commitment to Christ. I was his pastor in Dallas and know personally of his family’s love for the Lord.
After the Chiefs won the AFC title, Clark said: “I want to thank the Lord for blessing us with this opportunity. The glory belongs to him.” After his team won the Super Bowl last night, he told the world: “I want to thank the Lord for blessing our family with all these incredible people who helped us bring this championship home.”
From Charles Manson to the 49ers
Earl Smith is the chaplain for the San Francisco 49ers. He previously served as a chaplain at California’s San Quentin State Prison, where he witnessed twelve executions and played chess with Charles Manson. He has been the 49ers’ chaplain since 1997.
Smith shares Christ by focusing on spiritual themes that connect with the players’ interests: hope, trust, and accountability. For instance, at the beginning of this season, he gave each of the players a tiny glass bottle, and with each victory, he gave the players a mustard seed to put in their bottles.
This is just one way he is planting the seed of the gospel in the soil of their souls.
“I have seen guys really grow,” he said. “I’ve seen young men who came in searching who have gone from searching to helping other men that were searching; guys mentoring the walk for others.”
“All I want is to be seen.”
Those associated with the Chiefs and the 49ers are not the only people using the Super Bowl for a greater purpose.
The 21st Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration was broadcast Saturday night. Its theme this year was cancer prevention. Those watching the celebration were given the opportunity to give to this urgent cause.
Social media personality Meir Kalmanson was walking around New York in 2017 when he encountered a homeless man holding a cardboard sign that said, “I don’t want anything to eat. I don’t want to drink. All I want is to be seen. I want to talk to somebody.”
Kalmanson said, “That just hit me in the gut.” So he picked up some food for the man and sat down with him to listen. He later staged a Super Bowl party for six or so homeless men he knew. He called it a Super Soul Party.
The idea spread to at least fifteen cities for yesterday’s game. The parties included clothing drives, free hygiene kits, haircuts, manicures, and on-site therapists.
How to please God
You may never play in a Super Bowl or stage a party that becomes a national movement, but your place of influence is your kingdom assignment today. The question is whether you are willing to trust God to lead you into your best life.
I first heard the gospel when I was in seventh grade, but I rejected its invitation to trust in Jesus. The reason was simple: I was afraid he would lead me where I would not want to go.
I still face this fear today. I would guess that you do as well.
When we’re afraid God will not use our lives as significantly as we wish, let’s remember this fact: His plan for us is far more fulfilling than any plan we could make for ourselves. It is his will to use us as fully as we are willing to be used. You can absolutely know that your life will make its greatest impact when it is fully surrendered to your Lord.
From Noah’s obedience that saved humanity to Moses’ obedience that led Israel out of Egypt to Daniel’s obedience that displayed God’s omnipotence to Jesus’ obedience in Gethsemane that led to our eternal salvation, the pattern holds: each time someone in Scripture chooses God’s will over their own, the world is never the same.
I have no idea who will play in Super Bowl LV, much less who will win. But I know this: our next step of obedience will make an eternal difference on earth and honor our Father in heaven. Then Paul’s testimony will be ours: “We speak, not to please man, but to please God” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Will you please God today?
NOTE: My sermon yesterday focused on the fact that we can trust the Lord with tomorrow, knowing that it is always too soon to give up on God. I invite you to read it here.