If the events of the last week or two are any indication, the Super Bowl is all that matters to some fans and players. Clint Gresham played six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, appearing in two Super Bowls. Winning one and losing one taught him something.
In 2014, the Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos in a final score of 43-8. Gresham puts the win in perspective in a video posted on www.iamsecond.com. He says, “I can’t tell you how many times I heard my teammates say, ‘I keep waiting for it to sink in that we won the Super Bowl.’ I said it, too.” After a few months, he began to understand that they really meant, “I keep waiting for this thing to make me happy the way I thought it would and it hasn’t, and now I’m actually kind of scared about that, because I have made this my life pursuit and I got it, and I’m still wanting more.”
The Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl the next year, another opportunity to answer those deeply personal questions. The loss to the New England Patriots was painful, but clarifying. Trials tutor life’s lessons more profoundly than success. Gresham says, “It’s only in your pain that you can grow. For me, it was my faith in God that helped me find peace. Faith helped me to bring gratitude into every moment. When I can be grateful no matter what happens, dealing with anxiety and hardships doesn’t have such weight to it. My Super Bowl experiences taught me that the most important thing in my life is to build a strong foundation on the things that truly matter.”
In church history, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was trained by John the Apostle. He refused to worship the Roman emperor. Eusebius records the proceedings of the trial in 155 AD. In response to the proconsul’s demand that Polycarp deny Christ, he responded, “For 86 years I have been His servant, and He has never done me wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” He prayed, “O Father, I bless thee for counting me worthy of this day and hour, that in the number of the martyrs I may partake of Christ’s cup.” They executed him.
Though separated by millennia, Gresham and Polycarp are together with Paul. “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8). The trials of life expose what matters most to you. Except maybe the question is really, Who matters most?