On June 30, my wife and I had our 48th wedding anniversary—and all Mississippi celebrated! Horns honking. Cowbells ringing. People hugging strangers. And most folk don’t even know us. What a great place to live!
Well, maybe the anniversary and the celebration were somewhat unrelated. I suppose those boys knocking an orb with a stick in Omaha had something to do with it. But my question is: Who really won?
Hotel owners and vendors in Nebraska are convinced they did. Bulldog fans worldwide thought they won. Guys in “lucky” shirts eating calorie-rich food and cheering loudly probably didn’t have too much to do with the win. Who did?
Was it Messrs. Cohen, Lemonis, et al.? Or those who went before, like Dudy Noble and Ron Polk? Or was it the boys on the field? The commentators point to standouts like Allen, Jordan, Bednar and Sims. But don’t forget others who were largely unnoticed until they came through in the clutch.
Which brings me to my point. At times like this, there’s enough goodwill to go around, isn’t there? Could we spend a moment to consider the parents who raised these boys and sacrificed to make it happen? Little league coaches who started them on their journey? Faithful fans through good times and bad? Tutors and bus drivers and strength coaches—the list seems endless. Oh, and God.
I was very grateful for the players’ comments that brought Him into the celebration, too. Not that He helped them win over others, a childish way to look at things. But in the words of the young man who spared the team’s best starter and closer for the final victory—Preston Johnson, “When I talk to the Lord before the innings, I’m just like, ‘Lord, You got me here. Just be with me. Get me through this, and all glory to You. Somebody see You through me.’” Amen to that!
Let’s pull back and get the larger picture. It’s July 4th. Leaving sports and politics aside, we are the most blessed people ever. I’ve traveled the world and I think that’s true. It’s an amazing land of plenty and freedom and gospel light.
Again, the list is long of those to thank: the founders, pioneers, and inventors; the teachers, farmers, and laborers (willingly and unwillingly here); our military and medical personnel; not to forget parents and grandparents who sacrificed to lift us up. But in all our thanksgiving, we must not take from the Lord His role as the Source of every blessing. “Every good gift and every perfect [act of giving] is from above, and comes down from the Father…” (Jas 1:17). They say the worst time for an atheist is when he feels grateful and has no one to thank. Our God is generosity personified.
His greatest gift? Most of us know: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). Have you received Him? That’s the life that wins!
Celebrations are good, but every day can be filled with thanksgiving, if it’s God-focused living. My wife has written in her Bible: “Life is not a blaze Of sudden glory won, But just an adding up of days In which God’s will is done.”
Jabe Nicholson of Starkville has a 45-year career in publishing. He and his wife have seven children and heartsfull of grandkids. Reach him at email@example.com or visit www.uplook.tv.
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