Read John 15:18-19; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-19; 1 John 3:11-13
It is said that two things are certain. Death and taxes. If I may, I would like to add one more certainty to that list. The booing of Roger Goodell. If football is not your forte, may I explain?
On Thursday evening of this week, the NFL held the first night of its draft. It was held in Texas this year in a huge stadium. This is the time each year when college players and fans alike anticipate good things. The athletes wait for their names to be called, announcing that they have been selected by one of the 32 teams. The festivities are opened by the commissioner, who at this time is Roger Goodell. Mr. Goodell stepped up to the microphone, and that is when the "take it to the bank" occurrence happened. The booing began. Though the commissioner tried in vain to use humor and even the presence of well-loved players accompanying him, the crowd would not be deterred. They expressed their displeasure no matter what, and they booed prior to each of the Commissioner's announcements of the next 31 selections of the evening. This has occurred for several years in a row. The Commissioner's response? He simply continues to do his job. This made me think. We have something in common with Mr. Goodell. Sometimes, we too face negative reactions when we announce the Good News of God's forgiveness, Acts 10:43; Ephesians 1:7. What if we glean a bit of encouragement from the way the commissioner has continued to do what is expected of him.
1. He wasn't surprised. Why would he be since he has faced the same kind of a reaction for several years? What about us? Sometimes, we are still surprised by unflattering or derogatory words or actions when we share Jesus. This really shouldn't be the case because today's scripture readings remind us that Jesus, Peter, John and Paul all warned us that we would receive persecution and even hatred because we belong to the Savior and want to make Him known. If we simply look at it on the surface, this makes no sense at all. Yet, Jesus reminded us in John 15:18-19 that they hated Him first. When we belong to the Lord, we are part of the battle between light and darkness, Ephesians 6:10-13. Why else would anyone ever hate Jesus?
Imagine the beauty of His life. The One Who touched those who needed healing with God's hands was hated. The One Who never sinned against anyone was hated. If the One Who is Perfection was treated with vitriol, how can we not know that we also will share in that reaction. Peter reminded us that when we face this kind of treatment, that God's Glory rests upon us, 1 Peter 4:14.
2. The negative reaction of the crowd didn't nullify the joy of Mr. Goodell's message. The good news for each man and his family was still cause for celebration, even though people booed the messenger. What about us? The Good News of the Gift of salvation is still wondrous and precious, even when it is vilified and we are rejected. If I held a priceless jewel in my hand, and folks laughed at me, saying it was worthless, neither its value or beauty would be diminished by their scoffing. Yes, anyone who will receive the One we hold out before him, will receive the right to belong to God's family, John 1:11-12.
3. The booing of the crowd didn't take away Roger Goodell's position as commissioner. When the party ended on Thursday night, Mr. Goodall still had his title and his paycheck. None of those people could affect his status with the National Football League. His title would give him the honor, once again, of standing before that crowd on the second and third days of the draft. What about us? What if people make it difficult for us when we share Jesus, as they have done for generations, Hebrews 11:36-38? What if they reject the message over and over? What if, as far as we know, not even one says yes to the sweet message of Jesus' love? Our standing with the Master never changes. We continue to be the temple of His Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19. We continue to be His ambassadors, telling about how God has done everything to reconcile us to Himself, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. No reaction or rejection from men can diminish God's love for us, His children. There's even more. No negative reaction to our reaching out in love with Jesus' message will take away the reward He will bestow upon us because of our faithfulness, Matthew 10:42.
4. The commissioner didn't throw out those who booed him, and he didn't call them names. What about us? It can be so hard for us not to react against those who oppose us and our Savior's love. Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that they can't yet receive the One we love; therefore, the message is foolish to them. We must not give in to either indifference or anger against them. Instead, we must ask the Lord for His heart toward them, Romans 10:21; 1 Peter 3:9 so that we will not stop praying and reaching out, when the Lord gives the opportunity.
Lord, please help us to continue to be faithful, keeping our eyes upon You.