No Replacement Refs

Matthew 7:22 says, “On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?”  And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me…””

Just one week into October 2012, sports fans across the United States were howling foul.  Officiating calls in the final week of replacement referees in an NFL game and in Major League baseball’s National League Wildcard game had turned the sports world upside down.

In September 24th’s Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, as the clock wound down, two players, Green Bay’s M. D. Jennings and Seattle’s Golden Tate, went up for a hail Mary pass.  Although Jennings had the ball secured in his chest as the two fell to the ground, Tate was ruled to have “dual possession,” having his hands around the ball at the same time.

The NFL rule states that if two players of opposite teams have simultaneous dual possession, the catch will be given to the offensive player.  The officials said that Tate’s possession, according to the rules, gave Seattle the winning touchdown and set off such a fan uproar.  NFL officials hurriedly completed the negotiation with the regular refs, hoping to move on.

And then, on October 5th, in the first Wild Card Playoff game in Major League History, a pop up to shallow left field became the talk of injustice.  The Atlanta Braves were trailing by 3 with runners at first and second base with Simmons at the plate.  Simmons hits the infamous popup, and Saint Louis Cardinal short stop Pete Kozma apparently drifts under the ball with little effort, waving his arms to call off left fielder Matt Holiday.  The officials called the “infield fly rule,” which states that if an infielder can easily play a pop up with runners at first and second base, with less than two outs in the inning, the batter will be out and the base runners can advance at their own risk.  However, as the call is signaled by official Sam Holbrook, Kozma runs away from the ball and it lands on the ground without being caught.  The results?  The call had already been made, and the Cardinals go on to win the game.

In both situations, the fan debate has drifted from whether the rule should have been applied, and if it should, is the rule flawed?  Someday, we will all stand before the Head Referee, the Eternal Judge.  He will rule according to His word.  Yet many will say, “That rule doesn’t apply here.”  Others will protest, “That rule was never fair.”

But the rule for eternity is clear, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  The key to victory in this life and in the life to come is simple, having a personal relationship with Christ.  Being baptized into Him.  And striving to live a steadfast life.

Many will bring up other rules they had been taught by religion, list the reasons why they should be exceptions to the rules, and even claim that it is ridiculous to put so much importance on one issue or rule anyway.  But to them, the Ref will say, “I am sorry.  I never knew you.”

In Christ,


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