God has more imagination than Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Steven Spielberg combined. Just look at how God is using an old car tag with a football logo to affect my life.
The logo is a large, elegant, black fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the New Orleans Saints. It’s on the front of Dana’s car, parked five days a week in our driveway. Dana is one of my husband’s helpers. Their official title is “Certified Nursing Assistant” – but to us they are really Angels.
Dana and her husband were born and bred in New Orleans. Like thousands of others they fled the city after Hurricane Katrina. They settled in Atlanta. They have jobs here, children in the local schools, are buying the house they rented at first. Atlanta is now their home.
But New Orleans has their hearts.
They stay in close touch with their large extended families there and celebrate graduations, weddings, holidays with them back and forth. Their hometown loyalty includes passionate support for their football team.
Any day the Saints have a game, no matter where, Dana wears a scrub shirt with the Saints logo to work. But that’s just the beginning. She also has a warm, hooded Saints jacket, a Saints cap, a Saints scarf, Saints earrings, and a Saints necklace – a pretty trefoil on a silver chain. And of course Saints flags to flutter from their car on game days.
The Saints play the Atlanta Falcons twice a year. When the game is in Atlanta, Dana marks it early on her calendar, because all of their New Orleans kinfolks come to their house – in a rented bus! They bring marvelous groceries with them because “they’re just not the same in Atlanta” – crawfish, shrimp, crab, smoked sausage, corn, potatoes. They cook and feast all weekend on mouth-watering, genuine “N’Orleans” style gumbo, jambalaya, and shrimp and crab boil.
Hosting such activity would wipe me out, but Dana’s eyes shine as she reports what a wonderful time they had, looking forward to the next one.
When I see the Saints tag on her car I often wonder, “Do I care about ANYTHING as much as she does her beloved football team?” And that leads to more personal questions. Since my main goal in life is to become the “Nancy” God created me to be, by living a truly Christian life…how am I doing? What kind of fan of Christ am I, enthusiastic or just so-so? Can others detect Christ’s symbols in me – things like love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity? They are intangible qualities, but just as obvious and recognizable in a person as wearing a tee shirt or scarf.
These thoughts make me more than a little uncomfortable. I remember the sharp warning by the Apostle John: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” WOW! (Revelation 3:16.)
But before too much guilt sets in, I remember the encouraging words of Paul, God’s incredible cheerleader: “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11.) And I’m inspired once more to do my best.
After all, Lord, I do want to be in that number when the Saints go marching in!