Fanatic (fuh-NAT-ik): noun - a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal.
In our ever-changing, pluralistic culture these days, it seems that if anyone gets excited about or is outspoken about their Christian faith, they are labeled a fanatic. For instance, take Russell Wilson: 2 weeks ago, when the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks credited God for helping his team defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, social media sites lit up with people calling Wilson a "Jesus Freak" and a religious fanatic. For me personally, I kinda thought that The Almighty was a Green Bay Packer fan like me! But why can't Russell Wilson give God the glory for his comeback victory? Why can't a famous athlete be outspoken about his faith? What's wrong with being enthusiastic for Jesus?
The world will tell us that we Christians are fanatics if we support the ministries of our local church with 10% of our income. The world says that when a Christian wears clothes or jewelry with a religious symbol on it, that person is a fanatic. The world (and some Christians) will say that if a redeemed sinner claps to a worship song in church or raises his/her hand in praise for all Jesus has done for them, that person is a fanatic. And yet, consider these "fanatical facts" about the upcoming Super Bowl:
- Tickets to the Super Bowl range from $4,310 to $13,110 apiece. APIECE! Can you believe that someone will pay that much for a single ticket to a football game? People who pay those prices must be fanatics!
- 72,200 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium and millions of fans around the nation will wear their favorite jerseys during the Super Bowl. Some will wear ridiculous outfits, while others will actually paint their team colors or logos on their bodies. Those people must be fanatics!
- During the Super Bowl, enthusiastic football fans will jump up and down, scream and shout, and cheer for their team. Others will zealously curse the referees, yell at the TV screen, and spill snacks and drinks in frustration. Those enthusiastic zealots must be fanatics!
Who is the fanatic? The enthusiastic football fan, or the zealous Christian? This I know: there isn't a player in the Football Hall of Fame who has forgiven me and you of our sins. None of the Seattle Seahawks nor the New England Patriots have brought the dead back to life. I love football, but I think Jesus is Someone to be excited about! Maybe I'm a fanatic? How about you?
Like most of you, on Sunday night, I will be watching Super Bowl 49. And although I won't have the opportunity to cheer for the Packers, I will be rooting for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Win or lose, I hope Russell is bold enough to proclaim his faith on national television to a nation and a world in need of the saving grace of Jesus.