It’s September again. It is, by many (primarily of the male variety), considered the most wonderful time of the year.
Regardless of your particular tastes in sports and entertainment, the season of stadiums and marching bands and gridiron gladiators is here and, for the next few months, the hearts of many will be inseparably linked to the success of their favorite team.
I am particularly aware of this as I have been preparing the concession stand for our high school (on my second tour of duty as Band Booster president). In a few hours we’ll raise the windows on the concession stand and start warming up the nacho cheese and popping the popcorn. Popcorn – that salty, crunchy snack that gets stuck in your teeth and is really good when fresh but really bad when left sitting for a day or two. At the end of the night we often take the popcorn that is left and go out into the stands and just give it away. It’s not a big deal if nobody wants it – a few pennies really. But I will go and ask anybody I meet if they would like some popcorn.
I offer it freely. I’m not afraid that I will make someone mad because they don’t believe in popcorn. I’m not concerned with whether or not they like popcorn. I just offer it. I don’t threaten them that, if they don’t eat the popcorn, they will be very hungry by breakfast. I don’t rave on and on about how much better their life would be if they would just eat this popcorn. I just offer.
It’s just popcorn. It doesn’t matter. It’s not of any lasting significance. But I offer it freely without hesitation to anyone I meet.
This weekend, this first weekend of football season, we are continuing our series called “Let it Rain.” We’re going to be talking about our need to sow the seed of the gospel.
What does that have to do with football and popcorn?
Well, to tell the truth, I have to confess that, while I do not hesitate to offer to anyone I meet a bag of leftover popcorn at the end of a ballgame, I find myself woefully shy when it comes to offering the most important gift they could ever possibly receive. Whether or not you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, surely you would agree with me that, if I really do believe in the gospel message, it would be absolutely unthinkable to refrain from offering it to everyone in the world.
I believe that Jesus died to pay the death penalty for my selfishness and yours. I believe that, if anyone will embrace that truth – by faith – like a drowning man takes hold of a lifeguard, they will live forever with God in heaven. I believe that, if anyone rejects that truth, they will spend forever separated from God in hell.
I believe this is the only hope for a lost and dying world. How can I offer so freely a bag of popcorn and be afraid to offer the hope of eternal life?
Isn’t it an offer I can’t refuse to make?