Monday, September 17, 2018
Romans 9:1-3 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.
Everyone has a story. I’m going to tell you one right now. It happened during the Super Bowl in 2009. There were 18 seconds left in the first half. The score was 10-7. Arizona was on Pittsburgh’s three-yard line and preparing to take the lead. Kurt Warner released a pass headed towards receiver Anquan Boldin, when Steeler linebacker James Harrison stepped in front of Boldin and intercepted the pass at the goal line. He then proceeded to run past and over almost every Cardinal player on his way to a 100-yard touchdown. It was the longest play in Super Bowl history. It was phenomenal.
I was amazed. I was shocked. I wanted to see Kurt Warner win. But I was a boyhood Pittsburgh fan. I didn’t know whether to be angry or overjoyed.
Just as Harrison crossed the goal line the phone rang. It was my son Josh. He was having a youth group Super Bowl party. I thought he was calling to see if I had seen the play. When he answered there was no noise in the background. There was excitement in his voice. He proceeded to inform me that two of the unchurched girls in his youth ministry were at the party. They had also been in church that morning. They had lots of questions, and Josh and his wife Brittany had talked to them during the day. At the very moment that the officials ruled that Harrison had scored a touchdown, Josh informed me that both girls had just prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. God had just intercepted two lives and scored touchdowns in their lives. His story was better by far.
After rejoicing with Josh for a moment, I asked him if he had even seen the interception and touchdown run. He knew nothing about it. There was something much more important that he was doing. We rejoiced some more – after I told him the football story – and he told me he’d give us all the details at our staff prayer meeting in the morning. I anxiously awaited the details. There is no greater story than the story of reconciliation to God.
I have two things with which to challenge you. First, how many of us would be willing to sacrifice the first-hand experience of Super Bowl stories and even the funny commercials for the experience of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with another person? Would we have told them to wait until after the game? I am so proud of Josh and Brittany for sacrificing the temporary and insignificant for the sake of the eternally significant. We must all be alert to the distinction we must make between personal gratification and God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation, and we must choose the latter over the former every time.
Second, I want to share some stories of reconciliation with you over the next few days that will hopefully encourage you. Some will be stories like the one today – stories of reconciliation to God. Others will be stories of reconciliation between people. I must admit I have limited resources for stories of people reconciling with others. Maybe you have one or two and would like to share them. Please email them to me, or, if you prefer, post them yourself to this blog. I want us to see reconciliation in action.
In closing, let me challenge you to look carefully at your life and see what things, interests, goals, or activities take priority over being interrupted by God to be a minister of reconciliation to another person. Surrender them. After all, is there anything so great in our lives that it should be held on to at the cost of another person’s soul?