Mark Affleck

A Super Bowl of Ecstasy, Despair, and The Mundane

February 4, 2019
Spiritual Growth

I watched yesterday’s 53rd Super Bowl with the rest of you and came away “somewhere in the middle” on most of what came across my viewfinder. It was average and mundane.

It was an average game (barely). The ads were average (except the brilliant dog-show spot from Mexican Avocados). And the players played average without a historic highlight-reel moment.
When the battle trudged to its confetti-littered close, the notion of being “in the middle” of two poles in life—ecstasy and misery—had come into high-definition clarity.
That’s when I connected the Super Bowl to our walk with Christ. It was a meta-metaphor of how our days fall one of three ways: 1) Ecstasy; Mundanity; or Despair.
The VICTORS walk forward in ecstasy toward this reality: The applause eventually retreats and success is always temporary. And as they revel in their post-game success, several choices are lining up in front of them. Pride or humility? Glory to God or self? Share the bounty or hoard?
Another pitfall for the successful is how dangerous it can be. You know…the camel and the needle and our eye (Mark 10:25). Part of that danger can be seen when the Corinthian church wrongly assumed that success equals God’s approval. Success doesn’t make the gospel more believable. It never has. And it never will.
Players on the “FAILURE” sideline face many choices, too. Go into a self-pity cocoon or console a hurting teammate. Choose contentment with what they have or mourn the loss of what could have been? Use the experience to witness or whimper?
Ideally, we allow our failures to be gifts that propel us to new, higher levels of commitment in our walk with Christ.
After all, physical weakness and external opposition were identifying marks of a disciple when Jesus lived and today, the day after Super Bowl LIII. If Paul was going to boast about anything, it would certainly not be his achievements.
And then there is the “AVERAGE” designation where we must choose between self and service. We may want to put the winners exuding ecstasy “on the stage” but Jesus elevated the least of these as the Kingdom-bound model because the testimony of the afflicted carries more weight than exultations from the successful.
I ask God to help me to walk evenly with him across my ups and downs and everything in between.
How do you deal with the highs, lows, and mundane aspects of your life?
“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

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