Saturday, 02 February 2013
I have to admit, I was rooting for The Harbaugh Bowl (aka, the Harbowl; aka, Superbaugh). I was hoping to see it last year. Instead we got a rematch between the Giants and Patriots. That was fine because my wife is a Giants fan. This year, I got my wish -- the San Fransisco 49ers vs. the Baltimore Ravens, pitting head coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh against one another in the Superbowl.
As one who's close to my brothers, I love the story-line. The two coaches are separated by only 15 months, John older than Jim. When they were kids, their dad, Jack, himself a long-time coach in both college and the NFL, would take his boys to school, and before heading out the door in the morning, he always said, "Okay, men, grab your lunchboxes and attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!"
It's advice the Har-boys have never forgotten. You can see it on the sidelines, too -- every 49ers and Ravens football game. Those head-coaches are pumped. Their energy is infectious. But Jack Harbaugh's morning anthem before sending his sons to school is not just an admonition for a couple of coach's boys. It's also found in the encouragement that the Apostle Paul gives to the body of believers.
"Offer your bodies as living sacrifices," Paul says in Romans 12, "holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship." He goes on to say, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
When scripture compares the Christian faith to running a race, this is also an urgent cheer for zealous participation. "Don't you know that in the race, all the runners run but only one gets the prize? So run that you may obtain it!" (1 Cor. 9:24) "Straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1:14) "Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Heb. 12:1-2)
When we get to the finish line, don't we want to be able to say we left it all on the field? "God, I have nothing left!" With zeal (enthusiasm) and with fervor (intense heat) should we worship our God and display our faith before all men with the perseverance of a trained athlete. A relationship with Christ is of surpassing worth (Phil. 4:8). For the sake of Jesus we would suffer the loss of all things in order that we might gain Christ.
That's intense! It is beyond understanding why someone would sacrifice the fleshly desires and satisfactions of this world for a God we've not yet seen face to face. Passionate, sold-out, enduring faith is truly an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Proverbs 3:6 says in all your ways acknowledge Him. In your service to Christ, attack every day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!
Are you running the race with enthusiasm? If not, what's got you down? What can we do to be more passionate as we pursue God, faith and this life?