Our End Zone Object Lesson has a little word play going on. Parts 1 & 2 began with, Goal of the Gold… Today it’s turned around, Gold In The Goal… Which is better? Is there a difference?
End Zone Object Lesson – The Goal
Answering the questions, and seeing the object lesson, requires defining the goal. We started with Ephesians 5:1. Believers are to imitate our Heavenly Father. We also looked at the two Greatest Commandments (Mark 12:30-31). But I didn’t connect that discussion to our current, Christmas season. And that’s a connection worth making!
One reason we celebrate at Christmas is found in the meaning of Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14 was quoted in Matthew 1:23. And it’s Matthew who tells us the meaning of Emmanuel: God with us. Three little words are used to communicate mind boggling truths:
- Jesus – He is God (see also John 1:1)
- With – Among, advocating for, working for
- Us – Sinful people like you and me
That ought to make us ask and answer some important questions. But I’ll just present one question for this post:
Why did God send Jesus to live among us?
The answers are found in familiar passages you can probably quote. But we need to be reminded of these thoughts:
- God so loved the world that He gave… (John 3:16)
- Christ demonstrated His love for us while we were still sinners… (Romans 5:8)
- God’s desire is for all people to come to repentance… (2 Peter 3:9)
Does God love sinners because we are lovable? No. He loves because it is His nature to do so. God is love. And seeing God’s love, we realize that genuine love is a verb. It requires action (expression) on behalf of its object (we are the objects of His love).
So those two greatest commandments are about imitating our Father. And imitation of Him is the essence of the End Zone Object Lesson. But understanding is incomplete without application.
End Zone Object Lesson – Hilarious Application
If our goal is to imitate God, how do we know if we are doing a good job? Even a football game measures success in the meeting the goal. It’s called the scoreboard. The ultimate goal is the end zone. But the intermediate goal is first downs. And there is sideline crew capable of measuring yardage gained.
Successful imitation of our Father results in eternal life. And that ultimate goal is worth far more than gold. It’s the one time we can say imitation is better than gold! Even so, is there a way to measure our imitation in day-to-day living?
We have one. It is another one of those magnificent gifts from our heavenly Father. But before we look at it…I have a confession.
One reason for much of the preceding discussion is to keep you from checking out. What’s that? Have you ever heard a lesson, speech, discourse or sermon and tuned out almost immediately? You did that because:
- Subject was uninteresting
- You thought you knew all you needed to about that subject
- The discussion was unsettling (i.e. – my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts!)
I could have started with a God-given measuring instrument and still connected that to End Zone celebrations. But the risk of that was people tuning out for any or all the reasons above. And the gold in this goal is worth staying engaged!
Some More Connections
Add these things to what we have discussed of our Father:
- He gives good gifts… (Matthew 7:11)
- God’s gifts are always perfect… (James 1:7)
- Our Father is GLAD in His works… (Psalm 104:31)
- He rejoices over us… (Zechariah 3:17)
And that finally brings me to the word, Hilarious. Think of exuberant celebration. An end zone comes to my mind. And that spirit of exuberant, joyous, celebration describes the perfect gift-giving of our Father. Here’s the inevitable question: (don’t tune out!) Do I imitate that aspect of Him?
The word hilarious comes to us in 2 Corinthians 2:9. Don’t see it? The Greek word hilaros is translated as cheerful. But it is from this word that we derive the English word hilarious. And why would God love people who give cheerfully? Because they get it. Their joyous hearts and hilarious attitudes are accurate imitations of Him. That’s not about a specific gift. It’s all about imitating our Father.
End Zone Challenge
So here is where all this winds up. How many of us will see football games during the upcoming holidays. And end zone celebrations are part of every game. Now, here’s the challenge for applying the idea of imitating God. When you see the touchdown dances and someone spiking the ball, ask yourself:
Does my Kingdom giving look like that?
Does that sound silly or trite? It isn’t. The question worth asking because God Himself gave us a mea$uring $tick to show us whether or not we are imitating Him successfully. It’s our gold (earthly resources). Scripture has more to say about how we regard and use our resources than it does about heaven and hell. Why? Matthew 6:21 tells gives the answer.
So if you’ve stayed engaged this long, I don’t think you’ll be able to keep the End Zone Object Lesson out of your mind! So bring on those holiday games. And be reminded to imitate your Father!
Soli Deo Gloria!
P.S. – I am blessed to know people whose giving greatly imitates the heart of the Father. And the biggest reason for this little series is to enlighten and encourage. The more we understand the truth behind God’s view of our giving (not what we tuned out of because we thought we knew), the greater will be our effectiveness, joy, and rewards. And I want those things for all of us.