The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.
I still can’t believe the Seattle Seahawks won that game. Even as a Niners fan, I was cheering for Seattle yesterday and when the Green Bay Packers went into halftime with a 16-0 lead, I thought it was over. Even when the 4th quarter started and the Packers were still leading 16-7, I thought, “Seattle can’t possible come back.” They had already turned the ball over multiple times.
Even when the Packers were leading 19-14 with 2:09 remaining on the clock and the Seahawks were forced to try an onside kick, I thought, “I still think the Packers will win. The chance of the Seahawks getting the ball back is not good.”
Even when the Seahawks recovered the onside kick and then went down to take a 22-19 lead with 1:25 left on the clock, I texted a friend in Seattle, “I see Aaron Rodgers with too much time and 3 timeouts” and thought the Packers would drive the ball down for a game-winning touchdown.
Somehow, someway, the Seahawks took the game to overtime and then won!
Even though the Seahawks turned the ball over 5 times and Russell Wilson threw 4 interceptions, the Seahawks still won the game!
How did that happen?
It is challenging to think of one word to summarize this victory yesterday. Resilience? Fortunate? Lucky?
Here is the word I choose: unlikely.
I even heard ESPN radio say this morning this was one of the most improbable victories of all time. It’s not improbable because it was an upset but because of how unlikely it was to come back when they were down 16 points after halftime and then be forced to score 14 points in 44 seconds late in the 4th quarter to give them a chance to win.
This was an unlikely victory.
Now … what does any of that have to do with the Christian life?
Answer: this is exactly how God operates when it comes to choosing to demonstrate His grace. He always chooses the unlikely men and women to save. Paul wrote, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (I Cor 1:27-30).
God chooses unlikely men and women to save. He never picks those whom the world would deem worthy.
Let me give you an O.T. example.
If you were asked to coordinate an evangelistic crusade to reach the African-American community in the United States, who would you pick? You could pick someone like John Piper who has solid theology and has written books dealing with the sin of racism (e.g., Bloodlines). You could pick someone like Thabiti Anyabwile, a member of the Gospel Coalition and African American pastor. There are solid choices available.
How about picking a racist to lead that crusade? How about choosing a man who didn’t want to preach at this crusade and hated the people he would be preaching to?
Who would do that? Why would anyone pick a racist messenger of God for such a task? Sound unlikely?
To bring about a revival in the ancient city of Nineveh, God chose a racist prophet named Jonah! How unlikely is that? Why choose such a discriminatory man?
The simple answer is this: so God would get the final glory in the salvation of hundreds of thousands of Ninevites. It certainly wasn’t the love and compassion of Jonah that won them over. It was the mercy of Jonah’s God.
A friend and former classmate of mind asked on Facebook yesterday, “Why do you care about sports?” And one of the answers I would give is this: because they can teach and emulate things about God.
In yesterday’s game between the Seahawks and Packers, it reminds me that God also chooses unlikely people to do unlikely things so God would get the most glory.