Knoxville, Tennessee is the home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team. In the fall of the year, the city falls under the spell of the Big Orange Volunteer Spirit, with over 100,000 fans cheering in the stadium at a home game. During football season, it is not unusual to see stores, offices, homes, and restaurants of every type decked out in Big Orange colors of orange and white in support for the Tennessee Volunteers.
In fact, today is the first game of the 2015 season and it is out of town. But the Volunteers don’t need to be in town to have dedicated fans. Yesterday, I went to a restaurant for lunch with a friend, and well over 50% of the people in the building were wearing orange shirts, hats, jewelry, and the owner was even wearing orange pants.
Now, I, too, am a Big Orange Volunteer fan, make no mistake about that. While none in my family are native to Knoxville, we long ago caught the fever of college SEC football, cheering for the Tennessee Volunteer football team, win, lose or draw!
Our dedication to the team even extended to the turf on which the game was played. When the stadium was changed from artificial turf to grass a number of years ago, we purchased a square of the orange and white end zone for a souvenir of those days gone by! It is hanging on the family room wall
We have our car flags, orange and white T-shirts, sweatshirts and blankets, as well as orange and white car decals, plastic plates, cups, spoons and forks, table cloths, … well you know what I am talking about.
And, of course we have the posters and caps on display, all of which are adorned with the beautiful orange and white of the Volunteers.
Finally, we can’t forget the spirit of the game … the cheerleaders, and in years gone past, we even had our own!
For the past several years there has been a sign along the interstate advertising the Tennessee Volunteer football program with the slogan that the team will “give our all to Tennessee today!”
It caused me to think about what that phrase meant. “Give our all to Tennessee today!” I am certain it references the effort that the young players are to give to the game. I am certain that it reflects the focus that the coaches have in training the team and guiding them during the big games. I am certain that the team is reminded of this mantra throughout their training whether or not it is a game day.
But it made me think. I certainly am NOT a football player, never have been and never will be! But I am a Christian.
Can I say that I will give my all to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, today?
Would I have a sign like this in the front yard telling the world that I will give my all to Jesus today?
- If I had such a sign, would I actually pay attention to it or would it blend in with the scenery?
- If I had such a sign, would I read it as I left the house each day or would I pass by it and ignore the admonition?
- If I had such a sign, would I mean what it says, or would it be mere decoration?
- If I had such a sign, would I look at it and pray that I would fulfill that promise no matter what the cost, no matter what the consequence, no matter what ….?
Perhaps the first question I need to ask is:
“Do I really want to give my all to Jesus today? Am I that committed to Christ that I want this for my life, today?”
Scripture says this is exactly what we are to do. In Deuteronomy 6:5 we read:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
We cannot shrug our shoulders and mumble, yeah, but that was said thousands of years ago; it’s not for us 2015! Not so, my friend. Jesus reiterated that this was still a commandment for us in Matthew 22:37 when He stated that this was the great commandment.
Note that it is an imperative statement — “You shall”. It is not optional, and it is not a divine suggestion. As Christians, this commandment expresses how much we should be committed to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Remember, our Lord gave His all for us — He deserves no less from us in response.
So, who will get your all today?
Father, forgive me when I have given my all to the world, to things that have no eternal significance, to idols that take time and attention away from You, my Creator-Sustainer-Sovereign God. Give me the grace and mercy to give my all to You each day that You give to me. And, Father, I cannot do anything without your enabling through my Lord; so, please give me a heart that can be used by the Holy Spirit to do the work that you have ordained for me, in the name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord, I pray.