The Super Bowl and Proverbs 4:23

Posted on January 31, 2008 · Posted in Culture, Proverbs, Sports

 

The message
of Proverbs 4:23 is an ominous, as well as a gracious, warning.

Above all else, guard your heart,
     for
it is the wellspring of life.

There is urgency
in these words of Solomon. Above all else carries an ominous
tone. The Holy Spirit is saying, “Pay attention!” The warning is also gracious. You are being told what is really important. Parents,
you must faithfully and frequently give this warning to your children.

The reason
for warnings is that dangers often come when they are least expected. This weekend’s Super Bowl is no exception.
After the infamous half-time “wardrobe malfunction” the NFL vowed to make the
game more family-friendly, but I don’t think the league had Proverbs 4:23 in
mind when they made that promise. The real dangers are more subtle and
pervasive than those from which the NFL will guard you.

The game has
become a cultural phenomenon. Over 100 million viewers in the  United States are expected to tune in this Sunday evening.   

Ad prices for a 30-second
commercial are reported to be running close to 3 million dollars. That’s
$100,000 per second. Rating Super Bowl commercials is almost as big as the game
itself. USA Today reports that over 1,000 charter aircraft will be coming to Phoenix
for the weekend. The same article reports that these special flights may cost
up to $70,000! The Super Bowl is a huge event.

Why are America and the
world so enamored with this particular football game? In a word, it is a spectacle. This is the biggest and most extravagant
sporting event in our culture. People watch this game even if they don’t like
football. Some watch the game for the commercials. Many are caught up in Super
Bowl parties and don’t even look at the game. Next Monday the Super Bowl will
be the topic of conversations everywhere.

To all of
this Solomon says, “Guard your heart!” As a culture, spectacle moves us beyond
morality. Immorality gets a pass. One
quarterback in the game is a national hero, even though he has just fathered a
child with a previous girlfriend and now has another girlfriend. Yet you often
hear him spoken of as the ideal player and person. (More about this in the next
post.) This is where the warning of Proverbs 4:23 must control your
understanding. Let’s look at how this game will impact your family.

First, let’s
say you have determined that the hype of the Super Bowl is something you want
to avoid. So you determine that your family is simply not going to watch the
game. This is fine if your children are under the age of 5. However, for
parents with older children, the impact of this game will enter your home
anyway. Your kids will hear about the game from friends. Kids at school will be
talking about the commercials. How will you prepare your children for these
conversations? This is part of teaching them to guard their hearts. No child
wants to be viewed as socially out of it. So, if you don’t watch the game, give
some thought to how you will help your children interact with other children
for whom this is the event of the
year.

Now, let’s
say you do watch the game. Be prepared for an event that really has little to
do with football and everything to do with what  America  worships  as a culture. The
cameras will zoom in on celebrities. The pregame show will air hours before the
game actually starts. Fanfare will give
way to more fanfare. The game will take on a larger-than-life aura . The world says
that these moments are what make life worth living. Yet in contrast, one of the
players in this game, a winner of past Super Bowls, has said, “Is this all there is?”

In the next
post we will address some of the specifics about this Superbowl. For now think
about how you can employ the warning of Proverbs 4:23 to help you shepherd your
family this weekend. Let us know what you are thinking and doing to prepare for
Super Bowl 42.

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