First we had the Falcons who all season long had a great defense record. Being able to defend against the other team making yards and touchdowns. They had great vision and could swoop in and take out passing plays. It is all about teamwork and communication. In nature falcons are incredible birds of prey. They are fast and agile and have very acute eyesight. They can see their prey from far off, turn on a dime and race in at speeds up to 200 miles per hour and catch their quarry. We as Christians can learn a lot from both the players and the birds. We live in a world filled with turmoil and chaos. It is often a dog eat dog, everyone out for themselves culture. People are left on the sidelines and often become victims of the enemy's aggressive offenses. Our purpose as children of God is to glorify our King, to promote the kingdom of God, to share His love with a lost and dying world and to take back what the enemy has stolen. More than anything else, the enemy desires to destroy all those made in the image of God. His sole purpose is to take us out of the game, either by benching us or by injuring us so badly we can't stay in the game. Personally I have been a victim of both of those tactics. I have had times where because of circumstances I have become distracted and ineffectual and I had put myself on the bench and just sat there watching the game being played. Sometimes it has been due to fatigue, life just wearing me down. When I have not kept my eye on the Lord, when my vision wasn't sharp. Other times I have been so grievously hurt by other people, very often other Christians that I have been taken off the roster all together, lying there bloodied and bruised. But in all of those instances it was the help and support of my team who brought me back into the huddle. God fearing, hope inspiring, faith filled believers who took the time to see a few plays down the field and realized that I had worth and value. That I was more than my injuries, more than my mistakes and more than just a number. They had the God-given vision to see who He had made me to be and they had the speed and strength to snatch me out of the enemy's clutches. We need to be stealthy and agile and quick to come to the defense of our teammates. We need to be on the lookout for those players who may be a bit weaker or a bit slower and come alongside of them and keep them in the game. We need to build them up, rather than tear them down. We are after all on the same team and we all follow the same great Coach.
And how about those Patriots? All year long a great offensive game, yards and touchdowns being racked up. But what in the world happened in that first half? I sat there watching, certain that the Falcons were going to get that Super Bowl win. It seemed that Tom Brady got pretty rattled, but he came back from halftime a different quarterback. I can only imagine the talking to that they received in the locker room during that break. Here they were, the supposed greatest team, the greatest QB playing like a bunch of rookies. It was almost embarrassing. But they came back on that field, forgetting what lay behind and reaching forward to what lay ahead, pressing on toward the goal for the prize (Philippians 3:13-14, NASB). They showed the true characteristics of a Patriot. A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion. That is what the Patriots showed in that second half. They showed their devotion to their team, to their coach. We as Christians do not have our allegiance to mere man made ideas or geographical masses. We are not of this world, our citizenship is in heaven, and our allegiance and devotion is to God. And just as the Patriots showed their devotion to their coach and their team, we are to do the same. We have a great God who gave His all for us. It is often spoken of, players giving their blood, sweat and tears for the team. God literally through His Son, Jesus gave all of that and more. He gave His only Son; to be persecuted, to be beaten and whipped, to be mocked and disparaged, to be hung on a cross to die a horrendous death. And He did that why? He did that so that we would be given access to become members of the greatest team ever devised. Can you even begin to fathom that? I remember as a youngster, I was overweight, clumsy and oh so awkward. I was never picked first to play on a team. More often than not I was one of the last ones chosen. I remember the pain, humiliation and shame of that to this day. All I wanted was to be wanted. To be part of a team. And now I have that and so much more. He chose me first. He chose me despite my seeming lack of talent and skill. He chose me and then He equipped me. He wanted me, Gail for His team. He wanted overweight and clumsy and oh so awkward Gail. And then He gave me all that I needed to become a valued and valuable part of His team. He gave me a Saviour who provided the way. He gave me the Holy Spirit who filled me and outfitted me in the team colors and provided all that I need to be a successful team player. And He gave me fellow teammates to come alongside of me and help to keep my mind focused on the game.
So, Falcons or Patriots, who did you root for? For me, I have decided to be both a falcon and a patriot. I want to be on the team that is deft and agile with acute sight, on the defense, taking back what the enemy has stolen. I also want to be on that team that has great zeal and passion for its home team, and desires to bring others onto the field, who will boldly go into the enemy's territory. After all it says in John 4:35, "Look, I say to you, raise your eyes and look at the fields, see, they are white for harvest, (AMP). And in Luke 10:2 Jesus said, "He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field," (NIV). Now, let's get out onto that field.
Patriot definition from dictionary.com
Falcon definition from wikipedia