Every year at this time, being election “season”, we find ourselves barraged by political ads and bombarded with mailbox stuffings and phone call messages seeking our support for a particular candidate or cause. This is the season for anticipation. As the clock winds down on the voting process, the anticipation increases each step of the way.
But the same thing is true in the sports realm as well. This time of the year is the time when the races for superiority in baseball and college football get very competitive.
It’s an old joke, but I just heard it again recently: The year is 2024 and the United States has just elected the first woman president who happens to be from Ohio.
A few days after the election, the president-elect, whose name is Debra, calls her father and says, “So, Dad, I assume you will be coming to my inauguration?”
“I don’t think so. It’s a 10-hour drive.”
“Don’t worry about it, Dad, I’ll send Air Force One. And a limousine will pick you up at your door.”
He responds, “I don’t know. Everybody will be so fancy. What would your mother wear?”
“Oh Dad,” replies Debra, “I’ll make sure she has a wonderful gown custom-made by the best designer in Washington.”
“Honey,” Dad complains, “you know I can’t eat those rich foods you eat.”
The president-to-be responds, “Don’t worry Dad. The entire affair will be handled by the best caterer in Washington; I’ll ensure your meals are salt-free. You and mom just have to be there.”
So Dad reluctantly agrees, and on January 20, 2025, Debra is sworn in as President of the United States.
In the front row sits the new president’s dad and mom. Dad, noticing the senator sitting next to him, leans over and whispers, “You see that woman over there with her hand on the Bible, becoming President of the United States?”
The senator whispers back, “You bet I do.”
Dad says proudly, “Her brother played football for Ohio State!”
Sometimes it is funny what people take pride in, isn’t it?
Now, on the one hand, I can understand that father’s (well-deserved) pride. If you were to walk into my home, you would discover that my office, where I weekly compose these articles, is “decorated” with Ohio State stuff. There are pictures and banners and rugs and blankets and chairs and knick-knacks all around the room — all proclaiming the benefits of Ohio State.
Visitors to our home, when they see the décor in that room, often accuse me of such things as “shameless idolatry.” Buckeye parents are proud parents.
But on the other hand, this devotion almost seems a bit misplaced, doesn’t it?
I mean, when your daughter is becoming President of the United States, should that privilege not take a higher priority than a son who played football for the Buckeyes? And do all those Buckeye fans have to constantly go around spelling (“O..H..”)?
The fact is that pride in one’s alma mater is not a sin unless indeed we do put it before the Lord.
But our highest priority should not be “O-S-U”, but “G-O-D!”
He wants us to put Him on the throne of our lives and consistently be relying upon Him to accomplish great things in and through us. And there is good reason for that reliance – His reliability. You and I can rely on God because He is reliable.
You and I can count on Him because we can trust what he says in His book, the Bible! God’s word stands firm as the one stronghold upon which you and I can stake our lives. For example, just look at a couple of thoughts from Psalm 19:
“The law of the Lord is perfect… “(Psalm 19:7-11) When the Bible talks about being perfect, it means blameless, complete, unblemished. Can you think of anything in your world that can begin to compete with that claim? I can’t. And what is the effect of that truth upon my life? It “restores (turns back, recalls) my soul,” which is prone to seduction, wandering, and dishonesty.
Or look at another one…
“The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy.” What does it mean for something to be trustworthy? It means it is faithful, lasting, firm, established, sort of like a door post. Is there anything in our defective and messed-up world that you can point to that is “trustworthy”? Precious little, I would guess.
And what is the effect of that truth upon my life? Well, we read it right there: It makes the “simple exceedingly wise.” In this day when everyone seems to have an angle, I need that exceeding wisdom that comes from God to make it through life’s interminable minefields.
We could go on and on through this psalm (Psalm 19), looking for more “buried treasure” that God has for us there, but the essence of it all is that the Word of God is “more precious than gold… sweeter than honey.” That truth gives me a great reward, but also a tremendous warning
God is in the business of transforming our lives from proud, arrogant, and very self-centered souls into humble Christ-followers in the real world. Instead of completely relying upon our ingenuity and cle3verness to get through each day, He puts us in situations where often we have no alternative but to trust Him.
And that is exactly where and when He shines!
So, my friend, are you regularly immersing your easily bartered, battered soul into the ocean of His love? A love that is revealed to us through unrushed, attentive, and prayerful processing of His Truth?
That is exactly what He has called YOU to do. And that is exactly what He has equipped you to do. And that is exactly what you need to do – start today!
Root for the Buckeyes (or whomever you choose!) but run to the Bible… no matter what!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor. He can be reached at email@example.com.