Some of you who are football fans may have watched the Brownlow ceremonies the other night. The winner with 30 votes was Carlton’s Chris Judd. This is the nation’s highest award for the best and fairest footballer. It is a huge honour and anyone who receives it is entitled to gloat and carry on big time.
Yet Judd was rather subdued in his acceptance speech. True, this is the second time he had won it. But his speech betrayed some wisdom and maturity; instead of jumping up and down like a mad man, he actually down-played the whole situation.
He reminded everyone that football is not real life, and that it is not all that important. He mentioned that another footballer, Jim Stynes, and his battle with cancer, was in fact real life. That is the real and important stuff of life, not some game and some award.
It was a good speech and helped to remind us all of what is important in life. He certainly had a right to get passionate about winning this twice, but instead he kept his feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds. Given how passionate so many Australians are about football, his speech was almost anti-climactic.
The truth is, there are many important things in life worth getting passionate about. But football really is not one of them. Yet sadly we will fill a religious shrine like the MCG with 90 to 100,000 people to scream their heads off about a dumb game, but we cannot even get a large crowd stirred up about something like the slaughter of the innocents.
I just returned from a public meeting tonight where I and a few other local speakers were on board to bookend the amazing story of Melissa Ohden. She is an American abortion survivor with an incredible story to tell. You can learn more about her at her website: www.melissaohden.com/
And you can watch a short video clip of her story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5PlZzpfHQI
There were perhaps 120 people at the meeting. That is not bad, with crowds for similar events often smaller. And I am aware of at least two other competing events on the same evening in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. So to get over a hundred people out on a cool Melbourne evening was not too bad.
But the truth is, there should have been thousands there. Indeed, the MCG should have been reserved for a person like her, not some lousy football game. And all the Australian media should have been rushing to get in on her incredible story: 60 Minutes, and A Current Affair, and Four Corners, and Lateline, and so on.
Yet did any of these mainstream media outlets grab her on her Australian speaking tour? Nope, not one. And attempts were certainly made to notify the MSM about her. But the MSM is not interested in pro-life stories. It is only keen on pushing the pro-death agenda.
But the fundamental right to life of every child should be amongst our most pressing concerns. Yet the masses are not in the slightest bit interested. Give them a football game and they will go nuts, but give them a moving and riveting story of an abortion survivor, and they will simply yawn.
Whatever we give our passions to is our God. And any passionate love for anything other than the one true living God is idolatry, pure and simple. Millions worship the God of football and sport in this nation. Millions are guilty of gross idolatry.
Yet where are those who are passionate about God and the things that God is passionate about? As I reminded the crowd just a few hours ago, if we do not have the passion for such things as the protection of our most innocent and vulnerable, then for heaven’s sake ask God for that passion.
Ask Him to break your heart with the things that break His heart. Ask Him to help you rejoice over what He rejoices over, and weep over what He weeps over. Kevin Rudd was wrong to say that climate change is the great moral issue of our time. It is the abortion holocaust.
We are told in Scripture to “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). Is that our passion? Is that our heartbeat? Is that what stirs us and drives us onwards? Or is it some stupid football game?
God’s heart is broken over the 90,000 unborn babies who are aborted every year in Australia. And the 1.3 million who are aborted every year in America. And the 45-50 million who are aborted every year around the world. God weeps over this. Do we? God’s heart is greatly moved by all this. Is ours?
I also mentioned the analogous moral crisis of slavery which people like Wilberforce fought, decade after decade. They were utterly passionate about this vital cause. How could they rest knowing that their fellow human beings were being treated as non-persons?
How could they go about their Christian routines and not be moved to tears over the plight of their enslaved brethren? How could they just sit back and do nothing about this horrendous injustice? How could they go on as if it’s business as usual in the face of such great moral evil?
And how can we today, with the similar horror of abortion? How dare we sit back and waste our time on carnal appetites and trivial pursuits, when all around us babies are being slaughtered. How dare we walk into the Lord’s house every Sunday with so much blood on our hands?
We need to repent of our apathy and indifference and carelessness and worldliness. We need to ask God to remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. And we need to ask God to stir up within us a holy passion for the things which grip His heart.
Now is not the time for wimpy, don’t-rock-the-boat platitudes and moral tut-tuts. We need men of conviction, men of action, men of moral backbone who will get just as passionate about the wellbeing of the unborn as so many do every week about the wellbeing of their football team.
I can think of no better way to conclude than to remind you of the stirring words of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. His fiery words can so readily be applied to the abortion wars:
“It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”