Many of us will be watching the Super Bowl this weekend. Some people even attend "Super Bowl Parties" with family and friends that were planned for weeks or months. It is estimated that about 190 million people will be watching the game. Even the commercials are "super," costing about $5,000,000 for a 30 second spot. The Super Bowl has grown over the years to not only be one of the most watched events in history, but it has made legends and superstars out of some of the players. For some people, winning the Super Bowl is the stuff of dreams and reflects the ultimate glory of this life with regards to achievement and status.
One of the greatest Super Bowl stars ever to play the game was San Francisco 49er quarterback Joe Montana. Joe led his team to 4 Super Bowl wins and was the MVP (Most Valuable Player) in three of them. Joe retired from football in 1995, but he still appears at many celebrity and charity events around the world as one of the greatest sports personalities of all time. Joe's skills were legendary in the football world, eventually earning him a place in the Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
What is not known about Joe Montana is what being a superstar personally cost him. Today, at the age of 59 Joe should be in the prime of life, enjoying his hard earned celebrity with his family and friends. And yet, what almost no one knows about Joe is that his 23+ years in football have literally destroyed his body and physical health. In a recent interview, Joe told a reporter, "I can't really run or do much." Joe is plagued with so many health issues no one would believe it. He has had a dozen or so surgeries to fix his knees, back and neck so he can even walk. He has had nerve damage to an eye from so many concussions to his head that he can't even read on occasion. Once the greatest of athletic stars, Joe can't even join his family to do much anymore because of his poor physical health. Sadly, the legendary Joe Montana quietly suffers today away from the cameras and bright lights of glory. Ironically, Joe was asked to do the coin toss for Super Bowl 50 to honor his great achievements. It is one of the few things he can do anymore without pain.
The life of Joe Montana is pretty typical of how the world draws us into its search for some kind of short lived glory, only later to find the real hidden cost and that the glory we were seeking was an illusion. The world has a way to seduce all of us into this search for glory, fame, money or something else. Millions of young men will be watching the Super Bowl and perhaps dreaming they too might be a part of the "glory" the game has given to the special few. Others will translate that "glory" to yet something else they may be seeking in life.
How ironic that the Super Bowl is always played on Sunday. That, of course, is no coincidence. The game is scheduled on Sunday because most people have Sundays off so they can watch the game and party with others. Few remember that we have Sundays off because of the Lord and the Christians concept of Sabbath and rest. You see the world was given a day off because of another kind of glory and celebrity that was achieved by the Lord Jesus Christ. Ultimately, the Lord's performance on the Cross achieved the amazing victory over sin, death and Hell that brought salvation to the world. That is the true glory of life, to celebrate and join in the victory of our Lord and His finished work on the Cross and Empty Tomb. Our Lord's glory will never fade and will never end. That glory is the goal and purpose of our lives that we were meant to experience and enjoy forever.
So perhaps the missed story of Super Bowl 50 will be the fact that most people are more excited about the glory of the game than the glory of God's love for them in Christ. Even the Church world today tends to be on the tame side of celebrations over the victory or win our Lord achieved for us. As a matter of fact, some people are uncomfortable with too much excitement at church these days. And yet, no amount of celebration during or after the big game seems inappropriate for most fans. Maybe that disparity explains why some of our churches are empty, dying and seem boring to our young people. The Church has had the real glory of life stolen by the world and replaced with something that quickly fades away.
When we get to Heaven one day soon, not one person will remember a single Super Bowl game, who won or lost or who were the stars. The glory of this world and all its trophies, awards and celebrations will be remembered no more. The only glory that will shine and radiate forever will be the fact that the Lord loved us and did something spectacular on the Cross to win us back to Himself. Our Lord entered the Real Game of Life and won a victory that we will be talking about forever more. In that glorious day the only star will be Jesus.