It must have been exciting to be in New Orleans this past weekend. Part of me loves the Super Bowl, and all the fanfare that comes with it. Yes, I watched it, and yes, my team won! But there is also something about all the hype and mania that leaves me empty, and sick in my soul.
On the morning of the big game, a radio sports commentator said he was surprised to learn you could still find tickets for the big game at the bargain price of $1,500 a seat! If that is the bargain price, I wondered, what was the “regular” price? After a quick internet search, I discovered tickets sold for as much as $5,000! Then, I was blown away to learn thirty-second television commercials cost anywhere from 2.5 to 3.01 million dollars! I suppose companies and organizations, and yes, even the Federal Government, thought it was worth the big bucks to get their messages out to the 93 million people watching the game. Reportedly, CBS took in 6.4 billion dollars in revenue just from the commercial sales. And, if you’re the winning MVP, you can get over $30,000 for telling the world you’re going to a special theme park in Florida. Amazing!
Please don’t get me wrong, I love sports, and I love the Super Bowl. I played sports in school, and I have my favorite college and professional teams. But, something doesn’t make sense. How can we justify this kind of over-the-top excess when 400 million children in the world go to bed hungry every night?
For me, it comes down to a question of priorities, and the power these priorities have in our lives. If attending the game in person is important, we’ll spend $5,000 for a ticket. If reaching 93 million people with the message of our company’s product is our priority, then we’ll gladly shell out the money to make it happen. The Super Bowl is a reminder of the power of priorities.
What would happen if we made something like world hunger a priority? The fact is, there is enough food in the world to feed every hungry person, and prevent the deaths of the15 million children dying each year from hunger and malnutrition. Experts tell us we have the food; it’s just not getting to the people who need it the most. It’s not a problem of resources; it’s a problem of priorities.
Effectively addressing global problems like hunger requires a realignment of our priorities. It is a matter of having the will to do something, individually and collectively. It requires a willingness to make sacrifices in lifestyle, and pay the price politically and socially. It starts by asking, “Is it important?” “Is it a priority?” And, “Does it stir us and drive us to do whatever it takes to make a difference?”
Ever so often, and especially during times of crisis such as the earthquake in Haiti, you see glimpses of what a shift in priorities can do. But these responses are too few and far between. Too quickly, we return to our selfish ways. Oh, that God would stir great changes in our hearts for the needs of those around us, and around our world! Oh, that God would change our priorities from a focus on ourselves and our comfort, to a focus on others and their needs!
What are your priorities, and the priorities of your church? What are the needs in your community? How can a shift in priorities help you meet those needs?