Power Over Referees

Basketball season is well underway, so this is a busy time of year for our family. With three of our five kids playing basketball and six of the seven of us being big fans (Micah is still a little too young to care much), we enjoy this time of year.

During Levi’s game the other night, I snapped a quick picture during a timeout. In that picture, you can see the ref raising a finger to indicate to the coaches that the timeout is nearly done and this is their first warning to get back to the game.

Do you know what I have never seen in the hundreds of basketball games I have attended? I have never seen a coach yell back at the ref during a timeout, “Hey, I’ll wrap this up when I’m good and ready! Now, leave me alone and let me talk to my players for a few minutes!” Sure, there have probably been many times when a coach might feel like saying that (and many more times when much longer timeouts are needed), but coaches “know their place.” They know the authority the referee has. No one gets to tell the ref to do things that are contrary to the rules, and change the ref’s mind.

On the basketball court, there is really no power over the referees. Yes, referees have bosses, too, and they have associations and expectations, but on the court of play, the referees are in charge. Coaches, players, and fans may yell (and might even influence calls), but the final say as to what goes and what stands – that final say belongs to the referees.

Of course, referees are just one of many examples of authority in our world. Some positions of authority are recognized more readily, some are challenged more frequently, and some are commonly mocked and ridiculed. With all positions of authority, though, comes some degree of power. We all have authority figures over us, and this was God’s intention.

Ultimately, though, we must recognize that only One authority is perfect and eternal. Yes, we must respect people of authority, even when they seem unreasonable (see Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2), but we must also recognize the temporal nature of authority in this life. We must find our hope, joy, and peace in the power and authority of the One who is Lord of all.

On Sunday morning, I will be preaching from Isaiah 7:1-17 on “The Promise of Power.” As I begin a new Advent sermon series, I will be challenging our church to slow down and consider the promises of God. His promises are perfect, and His power is matchless. And, what is more powerful than the promise (Isaiah 7:14) and matchless fulfillment (Matthew 1:22-23) of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?

Far more powerful than referees on a basketball court, God has eternal authority and Lordship over us all. Are you trusting in Him? Do you fear the consequences of disobeying Him? Does your life point to His matchless power? Seek, trust, and fear Him above all!

Whether you recognize Him or not, Jesus is Lord of all. The eternally important question is – do you surrender to His Lordship? If you have yet to do so, would you consider The Story and turn to Him today?
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