I know you shouldn’t yell, especially on a Sunday, but I did that Sunday. You know, it was during the Super Bowl some years ago.
But my New York Giants were playing for the championship. And they needed my help. You know, my encouragement and my suggestions of course. How could they hear me if I don’t yell? It’s okay, just earth stuff I know, but it was fun to watch them win; especially since I have a special attachment to the Giants that goes back to our years in the New York area, when I used to speak for some of their pre-game chapels.
What most people don’t know is that some of the Giants’ dramatic late-season turnaround that year is traceable, in part, to a chapel they had the previous November. The speaker was actually challenging the attendees to be “all in” as husbands and fathers, as spiritual leaders and as followers of Jesus. Then he gave them something I don’t ever expect to get from my pastor – a poker chip.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “A Poker Chip and a Super Bowl.”
The speaker asked them to write on that chip a part of their life where they needed to be “all in.” Now I’m not a card player, but I know that “all in” is a poker term. It refers to a player’s decision to throw in all his chips – nothing left, everything is on the line.
It didn’t take long for “all in” to spread among a Giants team whose record at that time had them on the brink of missing the playoffs altogether. And they went on to play like champions after that from then on, all the way to winning the Super Bowl.
Laying it all on the line isn’t just for football players. It’s for all of us who claim to be playing for Jesus. Our word for today from the Word of God Colossians 3:17 explains “all in” faith: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Look, this is no compartmentalized Christianity where Jesus is just a slice of the pie of your life. No, this is all Jesus. It’s His business, not yours. It’s His house, His car, His body, His money, His relationship, His problem, His children.
There’s only one way to live the Jesus-way – with intensity and with focus in everything you do. Or in the words of the Bible, “Whatever you do” – here we go again with those all-encompassing words, whatever you do – “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men” (Colossians 3:23). When you pray, pray with all your heart. When you work, work with all your heart. When you study, when you listen, when you play, when you worship, when you goof off do it with all your heart.
It’s just all too easy to slowly, unintentionally move Jesus from the center to the margins. You miss one day being with Him in His Word. Pretty soon you’ve gone weeks, maybe months with little exclusive Jesus-time. What John Calvin called the “idol-making machine” in our hearts makes something or someone else – even something good – the “sun” around which our life now revolves. It becomes the idol that replaces Jesus as the governing passion of your life. What once was warm is cold; what once was a passion becomes a profession. What used to be love is now just “crankin’ it out.”
The words of an old hymn just popped into my head as I was thinking about this: “But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay…” That’s true. The best of Jesus is for those who are “all in.” All control surrendered. Nothing I’m hanging onto. Abandoned to Jesus, because anyone who loved me enough to die for me would never do me wrong.
You know, for 2,000 years, folks have found in Jesus the cause, the passion, the purpose that’s worth everything you’ve got. Because He gave everything He had for you on a cross. Maybe you’ve never begun a relationship with Him, and you’re interested in exploring that. Come visit us today at ANewStory.com.
You know what? Today you will find in Jesus the One who is totally worthy of you being “all in” for.