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Marty's Muses- The True GOAT

by Marty Rind

I’m not sure how many of you watched the Super Bowl in early February, but in case you missed it, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won it over the Kansas City Chiefs. This was Tampa Bay’s 2nd Super Bowl Championship in franchise history, and Tom Brady’s record 7th Super Bowl Championship in his 21-year career, which is in fact more than any other franchise in NFL history. A lot of people, and rightly so, call him the GOAT, which is an acronym for Greatest of All Time. It’s a well-deserved title for sure. He has accomplished more than any other quarterback in history. His career will be remembered forever and his 7 Super Bowl wins will stand alone for at least a great long time. The conversation about Brady has now transitioned from greatest player in NFL history to greatest athlete in American sports history. He has more championships that Michael Jordan and his dominance has lasted longer than Tiger Woods and a host of other American athletes. It’s hard to argue he isn’t at the top of that list as well. But as much as I enjoy talking about sports, that’s not what this article is about, because, well, I’m writing to a church.

As great as Tom Brady has been in his career, he isn’t the true GOAT. (You may see where I’m going with this, but bear with me.) In another month here, we will really celebrate the true GOAT that didn’t just defeat a bunch of football teams, but defeated death itself at Easter. I was recently reading in Hosea, and in Hosea 10:5, it says, “The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. Its people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile.” In the Old Testament, Israel slowly fell away from God and out of His covenant with them. They started chasing after idols and worshipping false gods, like the calf-idol mentioned here in Hosea. God only took so much of it before He cast them into exile, when the aforementioned calf-idol, and any other idols they had made, were taken or destroyed. The people of Israel took their eyes off of the true prize and settled for something less than extraordinary. Because of that, God punished them.

I can’t imagine that we are all that different from Israel in that time period. I mean, sure we may go to church more or pray more or even have a stronger relationship with God than they did. However, how often do those things depend on the season of life we are in? How is your relationship with God when things are hard? What about during football, basketball, or baseball season, or when your kids/grandkids are involved in sports or extracurriculars at school? We get fixated on other things sometimes too, and maybe make an idol out of them. We have to be careful in those times, though. It’s when it is easy to shrug off God that we have to cling to Him even more, because Satan is on the prowl and knows that those times are our weakness.

And I’m the same way. I love football, no matter the level, be it junior high, high school, college, or the pros. I’ll watch it all. As a matter of fact, when I first moved here, I really wanted to have youth group on Wednesday nights because it would free up my Sundays to watch football. Talk about an idol! Luckily, Channon talked me out of it by pointing out that Wednesday nights usually didn’t work for students when he was here so Sunday it was. But that has been a big adjustment for me in the fall and winter that I don’t get to watch football as much as I did growing up.

My point in all this is that our hobbies and recreational activities can’t become our end all in our lives. Jesus should be. He died to become our purpose. He was spat upon and mocked to be our central focus, so that whatever comes our way, we can see Him as the true GOAT, because He did more than we ever can. I don’t know what your “calf-idol” is in your life. Maybe it’s work. Maybe it’s school. Maybe it’s sports. Maybe it’s your family, as weird as that sounds. Whatever it is that you put before God in any given season of life, that is your “calf-idol”. Surrender the calf to the GOAT, and He will do more for you than that calf ever did, because He is better than that calf ever will be.