The Dandelion Bowl (a.k.a. the Super Bowl)
As the nation, and the world, prepare for the upcoming iconic event of American culture, all eyes are on New Jersey. The Super Bowl brings together our love for sports, competition, entertainment, camaraderie, and advertising in an event that will be viewed by countless millions around the world. Some have called this the Marijuana Bowl since the two teams playing are from states that have legalized pot. The money spent on tickets, the players, all the travel and lodging for fans, advertising, etc. is beyond estimation.
Don’t get me wrong. I love sports and my two favorite teams are playing in Super Bowl XLVIII. I plan to watch and enjoy the game. But we need some perspective on it all.
Perspective On All the Pomp
First Peter 1:24 (quoting from Isaiah) says, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away.” Did you catch that? All the glory of man is like the flower of the grass. The Super Bowl is the icon of the glory of man. God says all of this is temporary and passing. I suppose, in light of eternal realities, we could call the Super Bowl the “Dandelion Bowl.”
Other than rabid sports buffs, few of us remember which team won the game five years ago – or ten years ago. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Super Bowl XXXI transformed my life and sustains me every day. It holds my family together and strengthens my relationships. It gives me direction and meaning in life, year after year.” You’ll never hear it. Whether it is the Super Bowl, the personal accumulation of millions, the collection of rare treasures, or Forbes-500 recognized business accomplishments – the truth remains: all of the glory of man is a mere dandelion. Who was the richest man in the world in 1365? Who knows? Who cares? It’s all grass.
So What Really Matters?
So if all the glory of this earthly existence is such a temporary and fading appearance, what can we do to live our lives for something of eternal significance? The Apostle Peter gives us insight in this same section of Scripture.
Writing to suffering and persecuted believers, driven from Jerusalem to other regions of the world, he says:
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-24).
One of my mentors used to remind me that there are only two things that last forever – God’s word and people. Those of us wanting a “forever” investment of our lives would do well to think deeply about these options.
The Eternal Impact of Love
Peter knew the lasting power of love. He had been loved deeply and enduringly by his Savior. Jesus loved him through his impulsive behavior, his selfish ambition, his foolish reactions, and even his denial of their relationship. Jesus had loved him “to the highest degree” (John 13:1 – Amplified). The Lord Jesus had indeed laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13).
As Peter writes to persecuted believers, he reminds them that the trials and pressures should drive them not to turn against one another, but toward one another, in intense, whole-hearted love. He teaches them that their obedience to the truth would lead them to a deep brotherly affection (phileo). Then, he urges them to go further in their love with a self-sacrificing commitment (agape) to one another: “Love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
Peter spoke of this love four times in his first letter and reiterated it again in the opening words of his second letter. He urges believers to keep adding virtues to their lives, with the final two being brotherly kindness (phileo) and then sacrificial commitment to one another (agape). Peter adds this promise: “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
First Corinthians 13:8 assures us that “love will last forever” (NLT). I have defined this love as “an act of self-sacrifice, flowing from the heart, produced by the Holy Spirit – for the good of others and the glory of God.” When we invest in the lives of people by our loving deeds, we make a choice that matters for eternity – even beyond the grandiosity of the Super Bowl.
The Eternal Impact of God’s Word
Peter then assures these believers, and us, with these words: “Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” ( 1 Peter 1:23). He repeats this thought: “But the word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25).
Psalm 102:12 says, “But You, O LORD, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.” Jesus reiterated that heaven and earth would pass away but God’s word would remain and be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). God’s truth is eternal truth, representing His name, His ways, and His will. Time invested in learning it, applying it, sharing it, and living it – truly matters for eternity.
A Timely and Timeless Investment
In truth, many believers will invest hours of their life this week in reading about, preparing for, and watching the Super Bowl. I will be one of them. But the challenge to our hearts this week is to invest at least an equal amount of time intentionally making a loving investment in people. The opportunity to invest substantive time engaging and applying God’s word is paramount.
Of course, these investments are not just important this week – but every week, until our weeks have accumulated all the way to eternity. There, the sure reward of our Savior will remain for those who have invested, not in the “flowers of the grass,” but in the things that really matter and last for eternity.
Copyright © 2014 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.