God, Our Exceeding Great Reward; a Game Changer for Life
Changing a Game
‘Game changer’, a phrase first used in 1993, is an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.
For a sports example, consider what Brad Pyatt did on October 6, 2003. Pyatt was an undrafted rookie wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. When his career ended four years later, he would have a total of three catches for 14 yards. However, what Brad Pyatt did on this night became the turning point in what many call the greatest comeback in NFL history.
The Colts were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. The Buccaneers were the previous year’s Super Bowl winners and a team touting the league’s number one defense.
With five minutes to go in the game, the Buccaneers scored, giving them an unsurmountable 35-14 lead. Tony Dungy, the Colt’s head coach, was considering pulling Peyton Manning and the rest of his starters to save them from injury. However, when Pyatt took the kick-off from two yards deep in the end zone to the Tampa Bay 12 yard line, the course of the game shifted.
With such great field position, the starters went back out and quickly scored. The defense, now infused with courage, stiffened. The Bucs could not make a first down and were forced to punt. The Colts quickly scored again making the score 35-28 with only a couple of minutes left on the clock.
They successfully recovered an onside kick and scored another touchdown with 30 seconds remaining, tying the game and sending the contest into a ‘Sudden Death’ overtime. The Colt’s completed an improbable comeback by kicking a field goal which bounced off the goal post and through, beating the Buccaneer’s 38-35.
Pyatt’s game changing kickoff return paved the way for his team to score three touchdowns in less than five minutes, reversing the outcome of the game.
The 'Game' of Life
That was sports. How about life?
Let’s set the scene, a game plan for the day. You wake up in the morning and immediately your mind is flooded with your pursuits for the day:
- Completing your to-do list
- Being efficient with your time and money
- Avoiding stress by taking care of the important tasks before they become urgent
- Avoiding clutter by keeping things in order
- Keeping the important people in your lives pleased with your performance
- Making sure all your possessions are properly maintained to avoid break-downs
- Making sure the people who are depending on you are free of problems
- Paying your bills, shrinking your debt and growing your savings
- Keeping your relationships smooth by being aware of the expectations of others
- Maintaining your health by exercising and eating right
- Trying to keep yourself from “burnout” by having a little fun along the way
There are so many seemingly ‘good’ things to attend to and keep in mind.
Keeping your mounting agenda at bay for a while, you read some Scripture and pray. You ask the Lord to keep you aware of His presence throughout the day. You ask Him to be your strength, to love others through you. You say Amen and launch into your day.
As you begin checking things off your to-do list, other items needing attention keep coming to your mind. You fight through a few snags and some things are taking longer than they should. An afternoon deadline looms.
Out of the corner your eye, you see a neighbor, a co-worker, an old friend. You have no time to talk right now, so you turn away and move quickly, hoping they don’t see you.
Then it hits you. Something is wrong. People, the very ones you are to love, have become less important to you than the pursuits of your day. The realization stuns you. The Lord might as well just take you on home now if you are going to view people as interruptions.
But what if the pursuits of your day completely changed? What if, rather than cluttering your mind with so many concerns, you could focus on one ultimate Good?
Enter Brad Pyatt. Enter Game Changer. Enter Holy Spirit.
Consider the fact that God is our Exceeding Great Reward and the answer to all our hopes and dreams.
What if, like Asaph in Psalm 73:28, you could declared,“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.”
What our days look like and what we focus on flow from what we value most. If we care a lot about success, efficiency, popularity, security, comfort and peace, our focus will be on these things. Our daily choices we flow out of what we value.
Read all of Psalm 73 sometime. Ashaph is really struggling with looking around and seeing other people enjoying a lot of ‘good’ things. But by the end of the Psalm he has settled in on what really matters, God’s nearness.
For a moment, think about being able to lay side everything else cluttering your mind, including your desire for smooth circumstances, and consider God as your only good.
Soak in this a few moments.
Now consider something else. Not only is God the Ultimate Good in your life, He is also near; very near.
Rest in this until the wrinkles unfold from your brow.
Going forward from this moment, your mindset and your life can be radically different.
Paul’s puts it this way: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
Christ is now our life. We can set the whole focus of our days upon Him, trusting that He will accomplish through us all that needs to be done. We don’t need to worry about us, how we are viewed in the world, our value, our security, our happiness or anything else. Our life is now hidden with His and when He is revealed, we will be revealed in His glory. This takes all the pressure off.
A.W. Tozer put it this way in his book The Dwelling Place of God, “Whoever Seeks God as a means toward desired ends will not find God. The mighty God, maker of heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing. God will not be used. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in their selfish striving after personal gain. He will not help men attain ends which, when attained, usurp the place He by every right should hold in their interest and affections.”
Let this all sink in a moment.
If it helps, follow Asaph’s example in Psalm 73. Write down what is bothering you. It might seem like complaining, but the honesty will open up you heart.
Then, sum it all up like Asaph by writing: “Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.
This will change everything.
Lord, we trust you with all the responsibilities we have in front of us this day. Through it all and in spite of it all, help us rest in your love moment by moment. No matter what happens, we are good, because you are good. You are near us, in us every moment, closer than breath. We love you. Live your lives through us we pray. Amen.
 Psalm 73:25
 Psalm 73:28