One of the many things I will miss, now that the college football season is over, is a Chick-fil-a commercial that exploits the rivalry between the University of Georgia and Auburn University to sell chicken sandwiches. For one day the company constructs a free-standing restaurant on the Georgia-Alabama border so that friendly rivals can break bread — and chicken — and fries with one another.

The line I like in the commercial is near the beginning when a woman says, “In the South, we don’t ask you where you’re from. We ask you who you’re for.”

So true.

Almost everyone has a particular college for whose athletic teams, especially the football team, they root. You may be an alumnus or you may never have set foot on the campus except on select Saturdays in the fall, but they are your team. You are for them.

I’m clearly in favor of such collegiate partisanship. You may know that I hold allegiance to a specific, middle-of-the-field football team (but we’re getting better!) Nevertheless, the place they hold in my loyalty pecking order is several levels down from my family, my country, my friends, and my faith.

Especially my faith. No matter how worthy, noble, or even essential those other allegiances are, they have to come somewhere down the line from my allegiance to God. I must be, above all else, for Christ.

The analogy to our loyalty to a football team breaks down about here. I can sit in the stands at a football game and cheer until I’m hoarse or jump up and down in front of my television set in frustration or jubilation as the team performs. Win or lose, I am for them.
Being for Christ is something else entirely. Spectating from the stands or cheering from the sidelines is not permitted. We are called to be engaged in the battle.

Once the wife of a friend of Lewis Grizzard admonished her husband for being so upset over the 1980 Sugar Bowl game between UGA and Notre Dame. She said, “Calm down, sweetheart. It’s just a football game” In shock, he responded, “It’s not just a football game. It is our way of life against theirs.” Perhaps a bit extreme, but in the Southeastern Conference, maybe not.

Being involved as Christians in the world is indeed a contest between our way of life and that of our culture. We are called to do battle against the forces of secularism, consumerism, and hedonism. We are to show people that there is a better life, one built on humility, love, and service. To push the metaphor perhaps to the breaking point, we are to love every member of the other team while seeking to persuade them to change sides.

It is unlikely that I will ever get a rabid fan to turn in his Clemson orange for Carolina garnet and black, but in the great scheme of things that hardly matters. (Really!)

To help introduce someone to Christ, on the other hand, to get them to see that there is a greater purpose to life than living for oneself and that Christ is the way to get there — now that is something we should all be for.

On Saturdays in the fall be for whomever you choose, but every day that you live and with every action you take, be for Christ.