Series: Forever Living in A Whatever World
Introduction: According to Forrest Gump‘s mama, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what your’re gonna get.” I say “Life is like football!” I am not the first to say “life is like football.” Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard put it this way, “The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears, and score your points when you get the opportunity.” The legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, expressed the same sentiment. “Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.” Coach Lombardi also said, “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.”
Ladies, you might prefer Erma Bombeck‘s observation on football. She said, “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.”
I played football in high school, believe it or not. That’s was back in the Middle Ages. I was a quarterback. I started out as a running back. I gave up on that after the first game. I was running a sweep around end when an opposing tackle grabbed my left leg. Another grabbed my left leg. The linebacker looked at me and said, “Make a wish!”
Of course, that’s not true. Football didn’t exist in the Middle Ages. American style football didn’t come into its own until about the time of the Civil War. It began as a variation on rugby and its cousin soccer among the Ivy League schools of the Northeast. If football had existed in bible times, Paul would probably have been a fan. I say that because his New Testament books contain many sports analogies. The primary sports of the day were running, boxing, and wrestling.
Listen to these illustrations from Paul: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Our text provides another example. To understand the passage requires understanding at least part of the sports analogy. Today I want to tackle the message of Philippians by translating Paul’s ancient picture into our more familiar football analogy. I will say it again. Life is like football in at least three ways. It’s not over ’til it’s over. You gotta know which way you’re headed. You gotta remember which team you’re on.
First, life is like football. It’s not over til it’s over. A good team doesn’t start celebrating until the game ends. Victory comes to the team who wants it the …
By Roger Thomas