The Linchpin of Loyalty: With God or the Super Bowl, Hanging Together Wins the Game
by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti[From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]
Winning the Super Bowl revolved around the decisions and choices made by each team. Ultimately, those decisions became the linchpin¹ for the team which won. Many times, the decisions we make become the linchpin that tests our loyalty to God.
I’m not a sports enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination. The last “professional” football game I watched in full was probably in my junior year of college at Baylor University. That was when I decided football wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Thus, during my senior year I missed my alma mater going to the Cotton Bowl, but it didn’t bother me. But, just so you know, I am not an ogre of a mom: I did attend the high school football games my children participated in, whether it was my daughter in drill team, my oldest son as drum major, or my youngest son as a football player.
But, Sunday, February 5th, 2017 was different. I sat on the middle seat of my mother’s couch, among family and friends, committed to watching the entire game— the most hyped-up sports event in recent memory. And, it was taking place in my hometown of Houston!
As we watched the game on our big screen TV, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact the game was taking place just a few miles from home. With technology, young, old, and diverse people around the world watched the game, and we used our 5 traditional senses to do it.
The aroma of artichoke dip, egg rolls, sausages wrapped in bacon, stuffed peppers, and Louisiana gumbo permeated our home. Then came the chips, dips, deviled eggs, pies, and the big Super Bowl cookie.
We ate and ate. Some even gorged themselves. We were not thinking, “What nutritious food can I eat?” Our taste buds were already in high gear just perusing the snack table. The grapes covered with caramel nuts were “out of this world.” The sausages wrapped in crisp bacon and dipped in brown sugar was enough to make us think we “died and went to heaven.” The flat pretzels with the secret dip from my niece provided the most satisfying crunch we have ever experienced. The family-and-friends group watched the game while at the same time being enamored by the vast display of food that was deposited before us.
My eyes were opened to many things as I watched the game. I saw full-arm tattoos that I believe are called “sleeves”. I saw George H.W. Bush toss a coin. I saw a spill on Terry Bradshaw’s shirt and commented that he needs to visit The Bib Shoppe. I saw drones. I saw nostalgic commercials. I saw incomplete throws, flags being thrown down, and fumbles. But, the most astonishing thing I saw was the score going from 0-7, 0-14, 0-21, 3-21, 3-28, 9-28, 12-28, 20-28, 28-28, and finally to 34-28!
My ears heard many things as the night went on. I heard commercials from Marvel, McDonalds, Coke, Aflac, Buick, Tide, KIA, Honda, and others. But, the best things I heard were the conversations going on in the family room as we conversed and laughed together. Some of my favorite family lines from the night are:
“What does the LI mean?” [Okay, that was my line.]
“Is the game going to be over by 8:00?” [Central Time. No way.]
“’I’m never having a wedding shower.” [A random thought from my single niece.]
“All the Patriots are cute, none of the Falcons are cute.” [Again, from my single niece.]
“He’s very attractive. No, he’s so good looking!’” [Speaking about Rob Gronlowski And, again from my single niece.]
“Oh, this is going to be good. WOW.” [From my 91-year old mother as she clung to her Houston Chronicle Super Bowl LI magazine.]
“More food is coming out.” [Response: “Oh, no.” From everybody.]
“What did Sears say about the filter?” [Huh, were we really talking about Sears in the middle of the 4th quarter?]
“Okay, I’ll take one for the team.” When asked to finish off the cupcakes, everyone groaned, but someone finally said, [And, she did.]
“This is a dangerous sport.” [Hmm, I wonder who said that?]
“Why are you leaving now—It’s only the 3rd quarter?” [Oh, you of little faith!]
And the best of the night was . . . “Pastor Greg Matte is at the game. So, I wonder who is preaching at Houston’s First Baptist tonight.” [Yes, he is the senior pastor of the church.]
In my opinion, the best ad came from GoDaddy—a company that registers Internet domain names.
The reason I liked it so much was not because it was such an awesome ad. The original 2017 GoDaddy commercial Journey Home was pulled days before the Super Bowl. A huge uproar occurred when their ad showed a cute puppy called Buddy sold online on a website build by GoDaddy. After the company retracted the ad, everyone was anxious to see what this year’s GoDaddy commercial was going to be. It turns out the ad that was aired featured a cat on an iRobot Roomba vacuum, a sneezing panda bear, a nod to the Grace Hooper Celebration of Women in Computing, and more. The ad wasn’t that great on its own merit, but I loved it because it was the ad that created more conversation among our family and friends than any other. We discussed our own domains, how much we paid for our domains, and domains in general. One family member shared that they paid almost $90,000 for a domain for his company. I shared how excited I became when I learned www.PattiGreene.com was available. Of course, I grabbed that domain up immediately.
Conversing in person is a rarity today, so actually talking without texting, messaging, being on Facebook, or Twitter was a momentous occasion! And, it was created through this ad!
As the game concluded and the New England Patriots pulled off the most improbable comeback in Super Bowl history, we all said our goodbyes with kisses and hugs. We enjoyed each other’s company.
Not being a sports enthusiast, you might ask, “What did I learn from the game?”
I learned the Super Bowl isn’t all about football: Underdogs come through. It’s like the high school nerds who end up good-looking and successful in life: Some give up too early—like those who left our party during the 3rd quarter believing the Falcons won: Parties are fun: Families and friends are important: And, calories can be absorbed in huge quantities.
The game is now over! We watched a fantastic football game. We all probably think Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history now. We agreed that teamwork won the game. But, what really happened was my linchpin decision to participate in a family-and-friends Super Bowl party. We had clean, godly fellowship and a renewed loyalty to our family and friends. And just like the loyalty among the Patriots and our loyalty to our family and friends, so is our loyalty to our heavenly Father. Making time for our family and friends is important, but making time for God is imperative because, to summarize and paraphrase chapter 3 of the book of Ecclesiastes, “our time on the field is limited.” ²
Patti Greene, Member Inspirational Writers Alive
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor. Proverbs 21:21
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for time we can spend being entertained by sports. Thank You for the family and friends You have given us. But Lord, let us cherish our friendship with You above all else. Let us be loyal to You and Your Word. Let us be team players in the lot You have given us. Give us Your direction. Let us make wise decisions and choices that honor You in all we see, hear, and touch. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
¹ One that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit.
² Paraphrased by Patti Greene.
Merriam Webster, s.v. “linchpin,” accessed February 7, 2017, https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/linchpin.
Edited by E. Johnson
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Books by Patti Greene
A 90-day devotional prayer journal for all ages; This informative and how-to book on prayer is for seekers, new believers, and mature believers. It encourages a commitment and devotion to the art of prayer. Learn how God reveals himself through Bible study and prayer. ISBN: 978-1512760453 (Paperback) $11.95 on Amazon.
A 365-day devotional prayer journal for in-depth Bible study; Fun words or phrases from the Old and New Testaments! Perfect for mature believers. ISBN: 978-1490893181 (Paperback) $27.95 on Amazon.
A 181-day devotional prayer journal for growing individuals; The Bible and social issues. Perfect for new believers. Comes with a group study guide. ISBN: 978-1490893174 (Paperback) $19.95 on Amazon.