Who Will Be in the Headlines, in Heaven?


It was an innocent-enough question, posed in the last line of an email: “Do you have a favorite in the Super Bowl?” A “favorite?”

George Commons started his three-year pilgrimage through The Master’s Program about 15 years ago in Chicago. From those 12 sessions, he integrated some new factors into his corporate leadership in the marketplace; a few years ago, he transferred his career as he and his bride moved to Kansas City to be more proximate to their adult kids. He was able to continue his career efforts – leading a global initiative – from his new digs. 

As his new season took form, George defied the cultural logic and landed in his new home town with Kingdom vision to start something revolutionary – with a ministry bent – alongside his continuing for-profit activities.

He took his exposure and experience with The Barnabas Group in Chicago – birthed from TMP grads – and created the vision for TBG in Kansas City. Four years later, he transitioned from both/and to commit himself principally to the growing Barnabas effort. Today, over 250 Kingdom leaders have joined forces with him to bring marketplace and ministry leaders together (check ‘em out: www.barnabasgroupkc.org).

Do I have a favorite in the Super Bowl?” That was George’s question to me a couple of days ago. A “favorite?” How is the culture answering that question?

I just asked one of my default search engines to address that question. Right now, it’s about 72 hours from the kick-off (I’m writing on Thursday, before the world around us goes nuts for pizza and hot wings). Who’s the favorite, before game-time?

Search criteria: Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl 2024. Brock Purdy Super Bowl 2024. More names. You get the idea: who are the big personalities who will be in Allegiant Stadium for the massive event, and how many internet posts are putting wind in their sails days in advance?

Here’s the search results, ala Microsoft’s Bing: Mahomes: 1.52 million hits. Purdy: 1.26 million. Usher – the R&B performer to be featured during halftime – has 1.43 million. The pre-game winner: Taylor Swift at 3.18 million.

Take another tack: how are the Big Names in Vegas making out during the Bidenomics era? Mahomes will make $37 million this season; Purdy weighs-in with $889 thousand. Usher will report $38 million in 2023; Taylor Swift cleared $10-$13 million per night in her most-recent Eras tour (Market Watch estimated her overall income in 2023 to be $345 million).

The MVP designation from Sunday (Most Valued Player) will have nothing to do with search engine hits or reported income on a W-2 form. Life is full of head-fakes (“an act that is designed to confuse your opponents about your plans or intentions”) orchestrated by the Enemy to distract the players on the Field of Life from what’s most important to shiny and seductive alternatives. 

Who will be the MVP in and/or around the epicenters that are in the spotlight heading into Super Bowl LVIII? San Francisco, Kansas City, Las Vegas: whose performance will command the most important attention?

The big news entitiesCBS, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, et al – will throw their headlines toward someone in Sunday’s aftermath. As Heaven Today goes to print on Monday morning – in the sinless environment where eternal importance outweighs all of our temporal confusion – what recent occurrences or occasions will be in the headlines, on the front page, above the fold?

I suspect that some of the initiatives launched by the Barnabas Group in Kansas City – acting as agents of grace and truth on behalf of God’s Kingdom – will weigh more heavily in the highlighting of Heaven than many of the great performances captured on widescreens around the world on Sunday. 

And, kudos-in-advance for the high-scoring NFL players whose post-game interviews will likely begin with, “I want to give glory to God for giving me the opportunity…”

Bob Shank

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