All season long Peyton Manning has been driving me crazy with his mumbo-jumbo at the line of scrimmage. “Omaha, Omaha, Kill, Kill!” he’s yelled in every Broncos game prompting me to ask Waylon what in the world that meant. Waylon’s standard answer has been, “Martha, Manning is communicating with his offense.”
My standard reply has been, “Whatever happened to one, two, three, set, hut?”
Football is rightly called a contact sport. I cringed as I watched the last few seconds of the NFC Championship game when the 49ers’ inside linebacker, NaVorro Bowman, sustained what appeared to be a potentially career-ending injury while attempting to recover a fumble. After watching the replay a few times I said to Waylon, “Do you know what I would do if I were playing and a fumble like that occurred?”
Looking at me while waiting for whatever cockamamie answer he was certain I was about to give, he asked, “Just what would you do?”
“I’d let whoever wanted the ball have it. I certainly wouldn’t risk getting my brains kicked out or my knee turned into a pretzel over a pigskin!”
To which Waylon quickly replied, “You wouldn’t be playin’, Martha. You’d be sittin’ on the bench.”
“And happily, I might add,” I quipped. “God knew what He was doing when He made me a cheerleader rather than a football player.”
There are so many things about football I just don’t understand. For example—why would anyone want to be a lineman—offensive or defensive knowing that you are going to get the stuffin’ knocked out of you on every play if you don’t do it to someone else first?
And those guys, with the long hair—dreadlocks and curls—cascading out from under their helmets??? I don’t get it! How they expect to have any hair left after one major pile up, I don’t know. I’m sure I’d be tempted to yank a few locks, especially if someone was talking trash or playing dirty.
I’m always amazed when I hear the commentators analyze the game. Seeing an impact that clearly rings a player’s bell and watching him walk off the field totally oblivious to where he is, scares me to death. But I’ve noticed the announcers don’t share my point of view. Invariably, one of them will say something like, “That’s just what the team needs to get the players amped up!”
During Jesus’ earthly ministry He was trying to get His disciples and other believers amped up—ready to carry on the work He had started. Quite often He taught them in parables which ranged from short pithy statements to stories rich in symbolism like allegories. Jesus purposely chose that method so that those who wanted to know what He was saying could. On numerous occasions after finishing a parable, He would say, “He who has ears, let him hear.” It wasn’t that He didn’t want people to understand the truths of the kingdom of God. It was just that a large majority of people didn’t want to hear what He had to say because of indifference or because of animosity toward Him.
This Sunday Peyton Manning, with his eye on a second Super Bowl championship, will be communicating with his teammates during the game. Rest assured he won’t be wasting his breath on meaningless mumbo-jumbo. Quite the opposite. What may sound like gibberish to us will be packed with meaning for his offense. The Broncos will be highly motivated to have ears to hear. Most of them will have already visualized how a championship ring would look on their finger.
May we as Christians be amped up–highly motivated to hear, understand and apply the Word of God. For much of the world, the Bible, too, sounds like a bunch of gibberish, but to those of us who are believers, it’s “a lamp to [our] feet and a light for [our] path”—“the word of life” (Psalm 119:105; Philippians 2:16). What’s at stake for us is not a ring or a title but a crown of righteousness and to hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 25:21).
Father, help me to have ears to hear and the desire to obey, so that one day I might be blessed to hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” In the Name of Jesus, Amen.