Prov. 4:23, Jesus, and the Spectacles of Life

There are questions at the end for you if you don’t plan to watch the Super Bowl. I urge you to read the posts anyway because you could substitute any number of things for “Super Bowl.”

So even if you’re not a football fan, this post can be helpful. I’m not a huge football fan myself (I usually rather read or watch something else) but I come from a part of the county where football is huge so I tend at least to keep up with the big news about it.

This series of posts from The Shepherd Press blog caught my attention and gave me a much-needed rebuke (not about football) so I thought I’d share them with you, gentle reader. Here are links with highlights.

The Super Bowl and Proverbs 4:23

Why are America and the world so enamored with this particular football game? In a word, it is a spectacle. This is the biggest and most extravagant sporting event in our culture. People watch this game even if they don’t like football. Some watch the game for the commercials. Many are caught up in Super Bowl parties and don’t even look at the game. Next Monday the Super Bowl will be the topic of conversations everywhere.

To all of this Solomon says, “Guard your heart!” As a culture, spectacle moves us beyond morality. Immorality gets a pass. One quarterback in the game is a national hero, even though he has just fathered a child with a previous girlfriend and now has another girlfriend. Yet you often hear him spoken of as the ideal player and person. (More about this in the next post.) This is where the warning of Proverbs 4:23 must control your understanding.

Be prepared for an event that really has little to do with football and everything to do with what America worships as a culture.

One of the players in this game, a winner of past Super Bowls, has said, “Is this all there is?”

The Super Bowl and Proverbs 4:23 part 2

Solomon’s warning to guard your heart and, by implication, to teach your children to guard their hearts is one that must not be neglected. Paul addresses the same theme in Ephesians 6 where he speaks about spiritual warfare. With regard to our hearts we are never in a neutral zone or a demilitarized zone (DMZ). The enemy is always lurking. Since Satan is the Deceiver his attacks are seldom obvious. Cultural spectacle is one way to deceive us. As we noted in the last post, spectacle tends to move us beyond morality.

The Super Bowl and Your Heart’s Orientation

Whether you watch the Super Bowl or not the game is important to you as a Christian parent. This annual spectacle tells you a great deal about the world your children inhabit. Proverbs 7 shows a parent looking out his window at the world around him. This father used the view from his window to instruct his son about the dangers of life. The window of your television affords you the same opportunity and obligation. In addition to the game you can learn much about the world around you from the commercials. These commercials cost approximately 3 million dollars for a 30 second spot, and that does not include the production costs. The companies who sponsor these commercials believe that they will appeal to what motivates Americans. It is safe to assume that these sponsors don’t see an America that has a Godward orientation.

This elaborate spectacle reveals much about your heart and its treasure, just as it does about your culture. Most importantly, your children are impacted by these things. They see how you respond and learn what really matters to you. What are the spiritual attacks on your children from the world around them? Follow the example of the alert father in Proverbs 7.

Jesus sums it up – Where your treasure is there will heart be also.

What if, like me, you don’t plan to watch the Super Bowl?

You prefer to watch the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. That’s perfectly fine. Just allow me two questions. Is there another event or spectacle that captures your interest? If there is, then rethink that event in light of the orientation of your heart. Secondly, are you concerned to pray for those who are caught up in this spectacle? The Super Bowl represents the orientation of a culture lost in its own pursuit of self pleasure. The game is a call to pray for God’s mercy on a culture plunging more deeply into darkness. Do your children see compassion for the lost of our world?

Matthew 6:19-21


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Culture, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

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